César Mota CurielHospital Infantil Dr. Robert Reid Cabral, Dominican Republic
Title: Pediatric Emergency Medicine Training A Survey of Current Status in Latin America
Pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) is a relatively new and rapidly evolving subspecialty in many countries. The purposes of this study were to describe the characteristics and to find common/shared practices in current available PEM fellowship programs across Latin America.
Methods: An electronic, multicenter survey was created and stored on Google forms. The survey was in Spanish language and included 30 questions about the characteristics of the pediatric emergency program, history of the program, and support expected from the Latin American Pediatric Emergency Society.
Results: A total of 11 PEM programs in 6 countries were acknowledged in Latin America. All programs are placed in pediatric tertiary care hospitals. All PEM programs were approved by the local universities and the Ministries of Health in each country. Difficulties to start a PEM program included a lack of physicians properly trained in PEM who could direct the program, physician instructors in specific topics, places to complete rotations of the future fellows, and getting the local health authorities to acknowledge the importance of the program. With regard to the duration of the program, 72.7% (8) have a 2-year curriculum and 27.3% (3) have a 1-year curriculum. Four (36.4%) program directors mentioned an admission examination as a requirement, 4 (36.4%) needed an examination plus an interview, 3 (27.3%) mentioned that it is necessary just like an interview, and 2 (18.2%) mentioned that the physicians are admitted with a scholarship. With regard to the structure of the programs and rotations included, most of the programs have rotations that are compulsory in different pediatric subspecialties. In 80% of the programs, fellows are evaluated based on different technical skill procedures that they need to learn and perform during PEM fellowship training. The PEM fellowship is recognized by different societies in emergency medicine and pediatrics, except in Dominican Republic where it is only recognized by the Ministry of Health and the university. After completion of the program in 90% (10) of the programs, graduates are not guaranteed a job, and in half, there is no mechanism implemented for recertification of the pediatric emergency physicians by the local medical council.
Conclusions: In Latin America, postgraduate programs in pediatric emergencies are a response to a need for health systems. Being an innovative specialty, it surpassed each country's own challenges, until it was able to reach an internationally standardized level, with a great diversity of pedagogical methodology, which the product has been to offer a high quality of emergency care to children.