The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) has been awarded a $750,000 grant by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to develop a Global Learning Center (GLC) in Sub-Saharan Africa. The grant will help address the growing need in Sub-Saharan Africa for training in radiology.
“The Global Learning Centers program offers a unique opportunity to develop a tailored education program, based on the specific needs and requirements of the host community,” says Umar Mahmood, MD, PhD, RSNA Board Liaison for International Affairs. “We are able to tap into a wealth of RSNA resources and provide a team of dedicated volunteers to create a comprehensive, dynamic curriculum for the GLC. We are honored to partner with NNSA to bring radiology educational resources to this underserved region.”
The RSNA GLC program was announced in 2019 with the inaugural GLC launched earlier this year at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa. By partnering with established radiology departments based in low- or middle-income countries to create the learning centers, RSNA aims to improve radiology education and patient care around the world.
“The grant awarded by NNSA offers great support toward the successful deployment of a Global Learning Center in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Claudio Silva, M.D., M.Sc., chair of the RSNA Committee on International Radiology Education (CIRE). “RSNA and the CIRE are working very hard to create programs tailored to each potential GLC, and, together with the host institution, identifying areas of need where our team can assist. We look forward to this collaboration.”
Once a host site is selected, over a three-year period a team of RSNA members will work with the GLC to develop a customized educational plan including a curriculum with hands-on training, didactic lectures, conferences, online courses, and other education offerings. Equipment and technical assistance will also be provided based on the needs of the institution.
RSNA team members will travel to the GLC to learn about the site’s educational needs, present lectures, hands‐on training, and point‐of‐care opportunities. The RSNA team, in close consultation with the local team, will design and present an educational plan, customized to the needs of the GLC, using RSNA educational resources.
“The NNSA grant award dedicated to establishing an RSNA Global Learning Center in Sub-Saharan Africa could not have come at a better time, as RSNA is implementing its newly innovated GLC program in low-income countries, many of which are in this region,” says Omolola M. Atalabi, MBBS, chair of the GLC subcommittee of the CIRE. “This award further testifies to and recognizes the leadership role RSNA is playing in bringing quality radiological education to Africa, and the impact it has made to the careers of individuals and to the growth of radiological organizations in low-income countries.”
The three-year NNSA grant, along with a similar grant awarded to the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, serves as a small portion of the overall U.S. contribution as part of Article IV of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, designed to facilitate access to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including for medical purposes.
Representatives from African countries discussed the need for assistance in nuclear medicine and radiology at a 2019 regional event hosted by Nigeria and funded in part by NNSA.
“This award will go a long way in providing much needed assistance to many radiologists in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Atalabi says. “I greatly appreciate this grant award from NNSA and look forward to similar collaborations between RSNA and other organizations.”