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Qatari-Canadian initiative sets global standard for international collaboration

Training for clinical audiologists builds local capacity and reduces need for importing expertise

January 11, 2011 ― A partnership between the International Continuing Health Education Collaborative (ICHEC), a program of Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto and Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Qatar’s national health care institute, achieved an important milestone late last year with the graduation of the first 25 students from a one-year diploma course in clinical audiology in Doha. The continuing education program leverages Canadian expertise to build Qatari capacity to provide care for their growing population and national newborn hearing screening program rather than having to importing expertise from overseas.

The partnership was first set in motion ten years ago when Dr. Khalid Hadi came to train at Mount Sinai’s Otologic Function Unit and study the Ontario Infant Hearing Program under Dr. Martyn Hyde and Krista Riko. The program identifies newborns with hearing loss as early as within 48 hours of birth enabling early intervention and improving their ability to thrive. Upon his return to Qatar, Dr. Hadi embarked on a five-year study to understand the audiology needs of his country which identified a specific need for newborn hearing screening. By building on the 20 years of research done at Mount Sinai, the University of Toronto and in the Province of Ontario, Dr. Hadi became the a driving force behind Qatar’s National Program for Early Detection of Hearing Loss.

“When we can diagnose hearing loss early in a child’s life we can help equip them for life very early on. We have also achieved dramatic results with the Qatari cochlear implant program,” said Dr. Hadi, Head of the Audiology and Balance Unit at HMC. “This three-year initiative is allowing us to train audiologists locally to address the increasing demand for hearing health care for Qatar’s growing population rather than bringing healthcare providers in from outside.”

ICHEC’s mandate is to provide evidence-based continuing health education and share Mount Sinai and University of Toronto health expertise with the world. By sharing innovative education techniques, and drawing upon research to accelerate knowledge transfer, ICHEC enables efficient, effective execution of continuous learning programs in countries and organizations that would not otherwise be able to deliver. The result is that healthcare professionals around the world are empowered to make better decisions around the care and treatment of their patients – therefore driving improved health outcomes locally.

“The entire team in Canada and Qatar has worked diligently to further the groundbreaking work from Mount Sinai and the University of Toronto and the province in newborn hearing screening, habilitation and family support. Dr. Hadi had the vision, persistence and expertise to see that his goals for hearing health in Qatar could be reached by implementing a similar program there,” said Dr. Arnold Noyek, Director, Peter A Silverman Centre for International Health, Mount Sinai Hospital, Director, International Continuing Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and Senior Ashoka Fellow. “It is a program that grew into a national hearing health policy in Qatar and which has been a positive influence on hearing health and education in the Gulf and a great global demonstration project.”

“Qatar is now leading this program, which is decreasing the burden of economic and social challenges in the Qatari community,” said Abi Sriharan, Director of ICHEC. “ICHEC is highly committed to work with HMC to build local human resource capacity so its programs can be sustainable without international input. We are also hoping to expand and planning further initiatives beyond hearing health training.”

About Mount Sinai Hospital

Mount Sinai Hospital is an internationally recognized, 472-bed acute care academic health sciences centre affiliated with the University of Toronto. It is known for excellence in the provision of compassionate patient care, innovative education, and leading-edge research. Mount Sinai’s Centres of Excellence include: Daryl A. Katz Centre for Urgent & Critical Care; Lawrence and Frances Bloomberg Centre for Women’s & Infants’ Health; Christopher Sharp Centre for Surgery & Oncology; Centre for Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Centre for Musculoskeletal Disease and the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute.

For more information, please contact:
Rob McMahon
Media and Communications Specialist
Mount Sinai Hospital
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