Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research
1st November 2002 - 31 December 2003
The Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research (GFMER) is a non-profit organization established in 2002. It is supported by the Department of Health of the Canton of Geneva, the Faculty of Medicine of the Geneva University, and the Geneva Medical Association, and works in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).
The overall objectives of the Foundation are to:
- Furnish health education programs and research to:
- Francophone regions
- Developing countries
- Countries in economic transition
- Establish collaboration between entities from the public and private sectors.
The Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research has a mandate to address challenges, such as:
- The conduct of a postgraduate training program in Geneva, covering research methodology, reproductive health, chronic diseases and other medical areas
- Dissemination of the Geneva postgraduate training program in different countries
- The dissemination of medical information on Internet
- Initiate and provide support for training and research projects
- The development of clinical guidelines for use in clinical training programs
For the period covered by this report, several steps have been achieved and there are some issues on the way.
The Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research is a WHO Collaborating Centre in Education and Research in Human Reproduction.
Terms of reference:
- To provide a postgraduate training in research methodology in Reproductive Health.
- To develop & conduct research & research synthesis activities.
- To assist partner institutions in the conduct of postgraduate medical education programmes.
- To collaborate with WHO on e-learning activities as well as on the conduct of short postgraduate courses in epidemiology.
- To provide expertise to WHO or to centres of WHO's network requesting collaboration in research, research training or clinical aspects in human reproduction.
The activities of the WHO Collaborating Centre are reported in GFMER - WHO Collaborating Centre in Education and Research in Human Reproduction - Activities.
The website (Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research) contains the following:
- English, French, Italian, German, Spanish
- Information about the mission, objectives and structure of the Foundation
- Site and Web search
- The postgraduate and continuing education programs of the Foundation
- International collaborations, Foundation's partners
- Publications, presentations, books and atlases
- Collection of links to free medical journals, medical schools, dictionaries, search engines, medical images, guidelines and free full text articles
- Sitemap, list of files in alphabetical order, useful downloads.
The website is extensive, comprehensive and contains detailed information. It is also easy to navigate and regularly updated.
- Advanced Epidemiology Course: 8-10 January 2003
Twenty - four students attended this 3-days course, (most of them enrolled in the Swiss German Interuniversity Program for the degree in ‘Masters of Public Health’) which was organized by GFMER, see Advanced Methods in Epidemiology: History and Concepts.
The course received top evaluation by the participants.
Lectures were held at WHO by Prof Morabia, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Geneva and Prof Sharon Schwartz, Columbia University, New York.
The next course is planned for January 2004.
- Postgraduate Research Training Course: 3 March - 10 April 2003
This year, there were 31 participants from 23 different nations, of whom 30 received full study grants (Postgraduate Training in Research Methodology and Reproductive Health 2003 - Participants; Postgraduate Participants in Research Methodology and Chronic Disease 2003 - Participants).
For the first time in 2003, the course was also organized for participants in the field of Public Health/Chronic disease. The course was structured in a 2 weeks’ research methodology module for all participants, followed by a 3 weeks’ course in reproductive health or chronic disease.
The Reproductive Health course was structured in eight modules with morning lectures and afternoon sessions, as follows: Reproductive Biology; Genetics; Family Planning; Infertility; Gynecological Endocrinology; Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Gynecological Cancer; Obstetrics (Postgraduate Training Course in Reproductive Health/Chronic Disease - Lecture plan).
Teaching material (lectures, references) was available on the GFMER website (Postgraduate Training Course in Reproductive Health/Chronic Disease 2003 : Course Files).
The Chronic Disease course was structured around the following topics: Diabetes; Cardiovascular Diseases; Substance Abuse; Mental Health; Obesity; Cancer; Integrated NCD Prevention; Health Promotion; Surveillance (Postgraduate Training Course in Reproductive Health/Chronic Disease - Lecture plan).
The afternoon sessions provided mostly more general information about different reproductive health/chronic disease issues in different regions and settings.
Speakers were WHO staff from the Geneva headquarters, lecturers from the Geneva University, GFMER and some invited speakers from academic institutions abroad (Postgraduate Training Course in Reproductive Health/Chronic Disease : List of Lecturers).
Throughout the course all students had access to personal computers (2 students sharing 1 computer) at the library of the Faculty of Medicine. Access to Internet and Medline enabled them to conduct the literature search, bibliographic review and prepare their written and oral presentation electronically. Basic training on the use of Internet, Medline and PowerPoint was provided. Two libraries (at the Faculty of Medicine and at WHO) were available for the participants and professional help from librarians could be obtained if necessary.
Research Methodology & Reproductive Health:
In order to obtain the University certificate, participants had to pass an exam, consisting of 3 parts:
- a bibliographic review on a topic of their interest, under the supervision of a tutor (Postgraduate Training in Research Methodology and Reproductive Health - Scientific reviews)
- a 15 minutes oral presentation (Postgraduate Training in Research Methodology and Reproductive Health - Scientific reviews)
- a multiple choice test (60 questions) and 2 open questions
All participants passed their exams.
Research Methodology & Chronic Disease:
The 15 participants in this group had to pass a similar exam to receive a certificate, issued by WHO/Non-communicable disease and mental health cluster.
All participants passed their exams.
Most of the participants stayed at ‘Le Cenacle’, some at the John Knox Guesthouse.
The course has been supported by the organizing institutions in collaboration with other Swiss and international organizations. Funding for scholarships came from a number of sponsors covering study grants for 30 participants, as follows:
|The World Health Organization (NMH/WHO)||15 study grants|
|The International Association for Maternal and Neonatal Health (IAMANEH)||8 study grants|
|The World Health Organization (RHR/WHO)||4 study grants|
|The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)||1 study grant|
|The Swiss Government||1 study grant|
|Geneva – Yaoundé Cooperation||1 study grant|
|The Ernst Schering Research Foundation (ESRF)||Public relations|
Statistics and historical perspective
- Postgraduate Research Training in Reproductive Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia, Jakarta 21 October - 9 December 2003
The Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research (GFMER) in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) has been conducting Postgraduate Research Training in Reproductive Health for doctors from all over the world since 1998. In order to disseminate the course to participants in different countries, GFMER is collaborating with other Universities/Institutions.
University of Indonesia is the oldest university in Indonesia with more than 15,000 students and 13 faculties. At the Faculty of Medicine, research in reproductive health has been one of the priorities. The Study Group on Human Reproduction has been very active in conducting studies in Reproductive Health.
The training is organized by the Study Group on Human Reproduction, Faculty of Medicine University of Indonesia (UI); the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research (GFMER), the UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Program for Research in Human Reproduction, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, Family and Community Health Cluster World Health Organization (WHO/RHR); the International Association of Maternal and Neonatal Health (IAMANEH) in collaboration with the Department of Health of the Canton of Geneva; the Faculty of Medicine, Geneva University and the Geneva Medical Association. See Postgraduate Research Training in Reproductive Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Indonesia.
See Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research - Publications, presentations for an up-to-date list of publications from members of the Foundation.
- Prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula (Dr C-H Rochat)
See Fistules obstétricales - Charles-Henry Rochat. The aims of the project are:
- Training local specialists in fistula repair by creating a regional training centre
- Raising awareness about prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula
- Development of research programs
These activities will be conducted in collaboration with WHO, UNFPA and regional centers. GFMER has taken part in the awareness raising initiative in Geneva on 4-5 December 2003.
- Training and Research Program in laparoscopic surgery (PD Dr P Meyer)
This program will focus on developing countries. There is still a major gap in the implementation of modern surgical methods in under resourced settings, often due to restricted availability or access of the equipment and lack of training.
GFMER, in collaboration with WHO/Department of Essential Health Technologies and Department of Reproductive Health and Research, is developing a program for training and research in laparoscopic surgery, aiming to improve the use of laparoscopy in developing countries. These activities will include the development of:
- a manual in laparoscopy, providing practical guidelines
- guidelines for laparoscopic training programs
- evaluation and improvement of training programs, the assessment of research needs and conduct of research programs
The development of a manual for laparoscopy will be the initial step.
- Meetings held at the Foundation
Foundation Council Meetings
Meetings were held on a regular basis (22 January, 5 March, 3 June, 9 September and 28 October 2003) and current issues were discussed.
Meeting of the Postgraduate Training Research Network
A consensus meeting of the participants of the Postgraduate Research Training Network took place on 3 September 2003. The purpose was to discuss the organization and running of the Postgraduate Research Training Course in the collaborating centers.
The participants of the meeting were:
- Biran Affandi, Fatmawati Hospital, Jakarta – Indonesia
- Blaise Bourrit, Secretary – GFMER
- Aldo Campana, President – GFMER
- Jie Chen, WHO
- Enrique Ezcurra, RHR/WHO
- A. Metin Gülmezoglu, RHR/WHO
- Mihai Horga, EEIRH, Targu-Mures – Romania
- Regina Kulier, GFMER
- Mario Merialdi, RHR/WHO
- Francis J. Ndowa, RHR/WHO
- François Pralong, Faculty of Medicine – Lausanne
- José Villar, RHR/WHO
- Observer: Meena Cherian, WHO
- Secretary: Sylvie Cecile Ngo Tama, GFMER
The idea is to disseminate the course with the support of previous Geneva course participants, create an interaction between collaborating institutions and improve the quality of teaching. Participants for the Geneva course must have the capacity to become trainers locally.
Adaptations of the course program to local needs can be made, but these should always follow the basic structure and the content of the Geneva Course.
The following issues were agreed upon:
- The Collaborating Centers, GFMER and WHO will form the International Network on Research Training in Reproductive Health, whose main activity is the provision of research training
- Interaction between Geneva module coordinators and local coordinators
- Lectures to be prepared by local lecturers together with the Geneva lecturers
- Possible discussion sessions (via e-mail) between Geneva and Collaborating Centers
- Possibility to invite lecturers from Geneva to the locally held courses
Other meetings held at the Foundation
- September 2003 - WHO/RHR investigators’ meeting on ‘Treatment of Bacteriuria in Pregnancy’.
- 17 October 2003 - Apports des Systèmes d'Information Géographique (SIG) dans le domaine de la santé et du médical.
- 19-22 November 2002 - WHO/RHR investigators' meeting on calcium supplementation trial
- External meetings/Presentations
8th World IAMANEH Conference on the theme: Maternal and Neonatal Health - Towards a Holistic Approach, Kuala Lumpur, 21st -24th August 2003. Prof. Aldo Campana attended this meeting.
2nd Regional Reproductive Health Task Force Meeting, Dakar, October 2003. Dr. Regina Kulier was representing the Foundation which was invited to participate as a partner.
WHO Meeting of interested parties, 7-9 November. The Foundation was invited to participate in this meeting and was represented by Dr Kulier.
Beëindiging zwangerschap: abortus, inductie en bijstimulatie, 8-9 May 2003, University Leiden, Netherlands: First trimester termination of pregnancy – Cochrane systematic review (presented by Dr Kulier).
See Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research - International activities and collaborations and Fondation Genevoise pour la Formation et la Recherche Médicales - Activités et collaborations internationales.
- Foundation membership
Health professionals interested in collaborating with GFMER can apply for membership.
Benefits of becoming a member:
- Being part of the Foundation’s international network
- Receiving assistance for research training activities
Publishing on the website of the Foundation:
- Institutional and/or personal page
- Scientific presentations
- Possibility of free of charge publications in peer reviewed journals
To support the Foundation in its activities:
- In clinical research training
- In the dissemination of knowledge and good quality medical information by the website of the Foundation
- Advanced Epidemiology Course 2004 (7 - 9 January 2004)
Organized in collaboration with the Inter-University Postgraduate Program in Public Health of the Swiss-German Universities. See Advanced Methods in Epidemiology: History and Concepts.
- From Research to Practice: Postgraduate Training Course in Reproductive Health 2004 (23 February - 8 April 2004)
Organized in collaboration with the UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Program for Research in Human Reproduction, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, Family and Community Health Cluster, and the International Association of Maternal and Neonatal Health (IAMANEH). See Postgraduate Training in Reproductive Health 2004.
- Postgraduate Training Course in Chronic Disease (23 February - 2 April 2004)
Organized in collaboration with the WHO Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster. See Postgraduate Training in Chronic Disease 2004.
- Postgraduate Training Course "Research Methodology in Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine"
Organized in collaboration with the WHO/ Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy/Policy and Strategy on Traditional Medicine. See Postgraduate Course "Research Methodology in Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine".
- Postgraduate Training Course in Reproductive Health in Cameroon (Yaoundé, May 2004)
Organized in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Yaoundé. See Postgraduate Research Training in Reproductive Health - Faculty of Medicine, University of Yaounde.
- Postgraduate Training Course in Reproductive Health in China (Shanghai, May 2004)
Organized in collaboration with the Medical Center of Fudan University, Shanghai. See Postgraduate Research Training in Reproductive Health / Chronic Diseases - Fudan University, Shanghai.
- Postgraduate Training Course in Reproductive Health in Argentina (Rosario, August 2004)
Organized in collaboration with the Centro Rosarino de Estudios Perinatales (CREP). See Centro Rosarino de Estudios Perinatales - Curso de Postgrado en Salud Reproductiva.
- Postgraduate Training Course in Reproductive Health in Italy (Parma, 2004)
Organized in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Parma.
- Postgraduate Training Course in Reproductive Health in Romania (Targu Mures, 2004)
Organized in collaboration with the East European Institute of Reproductive Health (EEIRH). See Course of Research Methodology in Reproductive Health 2004 - Târgu-Mures.
- Long distance course for the application of the New Model of antenatal care (WHO Recommendation)
An on-line course in collaboration with the Boston University, WHO/RHR and GFMER.
- Development of e-learning tools
- An online specialist journal called Reproductive Health
GFMER will be launching its own electronic journal.
Called ‘Reproductive Health’, it will be a peer reviewed, open access, online journal published by BioMed Central, London.
The Journal will invite all manuscripts in the area of reproductive health, encouraging especially authors from under resourced settings to contribute.
The editorial base will be at GFMER and will consist of members of the foundation as well as international specialists in the field.
Launching of the journal is planned for early 2004. See Reproductive Health.
- Application for NGO status of the Foundation
Application for NGO status of the Foundation is in process.
- French version of the Postgraduate Course
Following increasing demand, the teaching material of the Reproductive Health Research Training Course will be translated to French.
- 4th Geneva Aging Workshop - Cancer and Aging (1-2 October 2004)
Organized in collaboration with the Department of Geriatrics of the Geneva University Hospitals, the Swiss Society of Oncology (SSO), and the Swiss Institute for Applied Cancer Research (SIAK). See 4th Geneva Aging Workshop - Cancer and Aging.