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"My dear, there's been a change of plan..."

Posted 3:59 AM, September 1, 2011, by Takudzwa Shumba

Design thinking
The last few weeks have gone by in a (mostly) delightful blur. I am finally more attuned to the pace of things here. Now that the workshop activity has subsided, the next task is to keep everyone connected, and make sure that there is follow up on the design project. There is also the research component that is meant to come out of this pilot phase – Zaza, Mambi and I will be working with Mr Chingono and assailing the (thus far) impenetrable JREC fortress (JREC = Joint Parirenyatwa University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences Ethics Committee) to allow us to do learn about the utility of design thinking in a Zimbabwean context.

MEPI medical curriculum supplement
I also FINALLY navigated the bureaucratic tangles and got a green light to work on the medical curriculum supplementary material to be put on the UZCHS intranet by Stanford (and hope that my Stanford med friends are still keen on making this a reality). Six weeks seems like a long time, but my King's College colleagues' experience makes me think this is fairly standard - for the first round that is. They are confident that things will work faster when more of their students come in next year, and I am sure that will be the case for Stanford as well.

"Can you tell me more about that..."
Add to that my freshly printed “Elective Student welcome letter” giving me access to medicine wards for the next three weeks and ob-gyn for two weeks. I am quite curious about how much work will be needed for me to get up to speed with translation. Medical Shona is quite foreign to me.

After much deliberation, my advisors and I decided that an early truncation of my on-the ground Zim time for MEPI activities would be best. As I write, the NECTAR team is having a half day workshop to debrief on and discuss the activities of the past year (year end 31 August!) There has been a lot accomplished, but the program has a rather complicated logic model, numerous partners working together, and in the first year of such a large grant, aligning everything and making it fit together is difficult. I have great appreciation for the way this is being done – it is important to see where the pieces go, and how this will all strengthen the system in a sustainable manner.
When I arrived, I was super enthusiastic about getting the intranet on the ground, I spoke to anyone who would listen, and I wanted to get started yesterday (mostly because the Stanford group had been talking about getting this underway since October last year!) Talking more with Prof Hakim, Dr Barry, Dr Gray and the Colorado team was useful for figuring out what necessary groundwork should be done before populating this intranet – the needs finding that I was sent to do (and finally have permission to carry out!) The plan, then, will be to index the material we are sending in appropriately (to have a quick reference for the students, and make sure they actually use it!) Before that, though, will be extensive discussion with the first and second year instructors about which areas are a priority, and what materials they need. I am wildly ecstatic that this is finally happening.

Stanford, Stanford... Back in October...

I have also been thinking about MY medical education, and how the projects here fit with my personal goals! With that in mind, over the next 6 weeks, I am putting together as many materials as possible for the Stanford working group activities over the next year or so, and returning to the place where “die Luft der Freiheit weht.” After my medicine and ob-gyn mini experiences here, I will re-inject myself into the Stanford system gently, with autopsy pathology clerkship in mid-October (to be more like my hero, the fictitious naturalist and eminent physician, Stephen Maturin, who loved dissecting…) It is odd to be truncating the current trip, but for the stage the grant is in, and where I am in my training, I think as much has been done this trip as is possible for me to accomplish for this year, with the additional months having diminishing returns.
In the meantime, my distraught parents have organized an “emergency vacation” before I disappear. Victoria Falls and Hwange this weekend – here I come!


At last you will prove of you use in my travels.

Comment by: Aubrey at September 1, 2011 2:53 PM

I learn the art, you take me voyaging (we need a Killick - H?)

Comment by: Stephen at September 1, 2011 9:02 PM

H, undoubtedly.

Perhaps we could encourage him to be somewhat more grasping.

Comment by: Aub. at September 5, 2011 6:15 PM

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