Specialized care requires specialized training

Fellowship programs benefit children locally and globally

Judith Chrystal - 01 May 2019

Our training offers physicians from around the world the opportunity to learn from the experts at the University of Alberta, become leaders in clinical care or research, and even establish new services and training in their home countries.

Shine Kumar came from India to the U of A, and Stollery Children's Hospital, for a one-year clinical research fellowship program in pediatric pulmonary hypertension. His interest in this very specialized field, and a lack of expertise in his home country, meant he had to look beyond his borders to learn more about helping children with the disease. "I chose to train at the U of A because it offered a comprehensive learning experience in this field, both clinical and research," he says, and his faculty supervisor has a reputation as a world authority in this area.

Kumar returned home and, as a direct result of his training here, initiated a pediatric clinic dedicated to pulmonary hypertension, the first of its kind in South India. "I am able to treat and follow up around 150 patients per year and we now have a dedicated team for pregnant women with this disease and deliver good care," he says. He is now a clinical associate professor leading the pulmonary hypertension clinic at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University in Kochi, India.

In addition to helping other countries develop new services, hosting international learners benefits both regions by developing lasting relationships with specialists in other centres. Kumar co-hosted the Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Conference for the first time in India, and has published research with much success. "It is beyond words what I have learned and gained from coming to Alberta, both academically and personally," he says.

Other international trainees have come from Ecuador, Japan, Australia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, the United States, Syria, and Thailand, among many other countries