Harvard, Oxford and GFMER Collaboration
Meeting organized by the Maternal Health Taskforce of Harvard School of Public Health, 27 to 30 January 2014
From 27 to 30 January 2014 Dr. Karim Abawi was invited by the Maternal Health Taskforce of Harvard School of Public Health to represent the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research (GFMER) in a series of meetings and conferences.The purpose of this visit was to better coordinate the efforts and activities of the Maternal Health Taskforce of Harvard School of Public Health, the Oxford Maternal and Perinatal Health Institute (OMPHI) and the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
The International Fetal and Newborn Growth Consortium for the 21st Century is a global multidisciplinary network of more than 300 researchers and clinicians from 27 institutions in 18 countries worldwide. We are dedicated to improving perinatal health globally and committed to reducing the millions of preventable newborn deaths that occur as a result of preterm birth or poor intrauterine growth.
In order to meet this goal, we need international growth standards to measure and improve maternal and newborn clinical care, and compare outcomes across populations. Such standards exist to monitor the growth of infants and children. They are the WHO Child Growth Standards and their release in 2006 was a landmark achievement. These scientifically based standards are now used worldwide.
However, the fetal and newborn counterpart has been missing, which led us to implement the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. Our aim was to extend the WHO Child Growth Standards into the fetal and neonatal period, providing tools for continuity of care from conception to 5 years of age.
The INTERGROWTH-21st Consortium implemented three population-based studies using standardized methods and clinical and research protocols. We gathered a rich body of data on health, growth and nutrition from pregnancy to early infancy from close to 60,000 women and newborns across five continents, making the INTERGROWTH-21st Project the largest collaborative venture in the field of perinatal health research to date.
The resulting data provide unique insights into growth and development for the 21st century. The findings also provide new ways of classifying preterm and small for gestational age newborns. In addition, we have produced a new international equation for estimating gestational age through ultrasound early in pregnancy based on the first international crown-rump length standards, and we have developed the resources necessary for enabling the adoption and scale-up of these tools at all levels of the health care system.
By improving the ability of clinicians to monitor growth and development, standardizing research methods, and providing maternal and newborn health program and policymakers with new, practical, international tools, we believe we can improve the health of women and newborns worldwide.
The Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research has been designated as one of the principle partners for the dissemination and implementation of the INTERGROWTH-21st at a global level through its international network of health professionals and partner institutions.
A webinar was organized for the dissemination of the INTERGROWTH-21st where participants included: Professor Stephen Kennedy and José Villar Co-Directors of the Oxford Maternal and Perinatal Health Institute, Anna Langer Director of the Women & Health Initiative and Maternal Health Task Force and Karim Abawi, Project Manager of the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Professors Stephen Kennedy and José Villar discussed the objectives, design and emerging findings from the world largest collaborative venture in perinatal health research, the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. Dr. Karim Abawi discussed the translation of this important research into practice. The webinar was moderated by Professor Ana Langer.
Link to Webinar: http://vimeo.com/85736684
Moreover, a short video presentation of INTERGROWTH-21st was registered in English, Spanish and French by Stephen Kennedy, José Villar and Karim Abawi.
Links to video presentations:
Meeting with Ramon Alberto Sanchez Pina, Assistant Director of Sustainability and Environmental Management Program at the Harvard University
The purpose of this meeting was to know more about e-learning at Harvard University. Dr. Sanchez promised to explore the possibility of developing applications for the interactive training modules (PPH, Pre-eclampsia/Eclampsia and other modules planned for the future).
Strategies to disseminate the INTERGROWTH-21st and PPH, Eclampsia modules and other joint activities
Several meetings were organized with the Maternal Health Task Force team and e-learning experts from Harvard University to better strategize and coordinate the efforts of all parties.
E-Learning for Research Capacity Strengthening in Sexual and Reproductive Health. The Experience of the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research, a lunchtime Seminar
This public seminar was given by Dr. Karim Abawi at the Harvard School of Public Health during which the experiences of the GFMER were shared with the audience (see E-learning for Research Capacity Strengthening in Sexual and Reproductive Health: Experience of Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research - Karim Abawi).