FRRHH Celebrates 5 Years – Notable Members of the Faculty
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The Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare (FRRHH) celebrates its five-year journey in November 2023, marking significant achievements during this brief period. Initially established as the Faculty of Remote & Rural Healthcare (FRRH), it incorporated Humanitarian in 2020, addressing the pressing need in healthcare to define and set standards for both medical and non-medical personnel delivering services in remote and rural and humanitarian environments.
The Faculty fosters a diverse global community of healthcare professionals working across various sectors. Its Capabilities Framework standardises the knowledge, skills, and behaviours essential for safe and effective practice in clinical and non-clinical roles in remote, rural, and humanitarian settings. This framework facilitates the recognition, application, and transferability of core capabilities and values vital for healthcare professionals in these challenging environments.
The Faculty launched its first FRRHH Fellowship Fund in 2021. The fund was created to provide financial support for projects and activities that assist individuals’ access and exposure to different healthcare systems and contexts to help develop the knowledge, skill and experience required to work in remote, rural and humanitarian healthcare. The fund also supported those working within this rewarding field to further develop their career. The scoring panel awarded seven individuals, enabling them to enhance their experience, further their knowledge and increase their skillset through a variety of projects.
The Faculty introduced its first educational offering, the free online ‘Introduction to Humanitarian Healthcare’ course aimed at both medical and non-medical personnel who are preparing for their first deployment or who simply wish to enhance or reflect upon their prior learning. The course was developed in partnership with frontline medical aid charity, UK-Med and is accessible to all who have a general interest in humanitarian healthcare.
Fast forward to 2023, the Faculty is thrilled to introduce the Membership and Fellowship awards, recognising excellence and commitment in the field. Membership and Fellowship awards are amongst the highest accolades awarded by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), providing international recognition for healthcare professionals working in remote, rural and humanitarian healthcare. Such awards acknowledge an individual’s dedication to the development of remote, rural, and humanitarian healthcare, assessed by peers and against agreed-upon evaluation criteria set by the Faculty.
A look back at some notable Members of the Faculty
Over the past five-years, FRRHH has successfully supported thousands of healthcare professionals operating across public, private and third sectors. This has resulted in the establishment of a vast global network of dedicated members who are committed to delivering healthcare in remote and rural environments.
The collective achievements of the global FRRHH community in the last five-years have been truly remarkable. As we pause to look back, we know this journey is still in its early days and we look forward to the next five years.
As the Faculty celebrates this incredible five-year journey, we reflect on our incredible Members and partners who make up the Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare community. We also reflect on the significant milestones we’ve accomplished together on this journey so far.
First Member to join the Faculty: Dr Ling Kituyi – Head of Health and Wellbeing, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2020
Dr Ling Kituyi is the Head of Staff Health and Well-Being at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr Kituyi was the first Member to join the Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare in 2020. She shares her perspective on joining the Faculty:
“I wish I had had access to resources, training and a professional community when I started working in remote areas. I often felt very alone and struggled with imposter syndrome. What was available to me assumed I was in a structured hospital setting with clear referral pathways. I really hope this faculty will meet current and future needs of healthcare workers in remote and lonely circumstances”.
“As I come to the end of my UN career, I’d like to ensure that those who come after me taking care of United nations personell in remote and dangerous locations actually can get professional recognition and accreditation for all that they know and the skills they have. We are not just cowboys making do, but know specific skills and how to take medical decisions in the interest of our patients health and wellbeing”.
First Member to complete the Introduction to Humanitarian Healthcare Course: Feng Yi Soh, 2021
Dr Feng-Yi Soh is a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at NHS Highland, specialising in Breast, Genito-urinary, and Head/Neck cancer Radiation and systemic therapy. Based in New Zealand, Dr Soh was the first Member to complete the Introduction to Humanitarian Healthcare Course in 2021 in just three days. He shares his thoughts on completing the course and highlights the benefits it has brought him:
“This course gives a great overview on the different aspects and considerations of providing healthcare in austere conditions, and is truly informative to anyone who may wish to undertake such roles. Pitched at the right level, it appeals to individuals from diverse backgrounds. I had fun completing the modules, and even marked some for future study. I will strongly recommend it to anyone who hopes to gain a real understanding of humanitarian medicine, particularly before deployment. A truly valuable resource for members and non-members of the Faculty
First Student Member to join the Faculty: Myles Harris, 2020
Dr Myles Harris is the CEO and Founder of Space Health Research, a consultancy specialising in analogue missions that simulate the exploration of space. Based in London, UK, Dr Harris was the first student Member to join the Faculty in 2020. He reflects on his experience as a Member of FRRHH:
“Being a student member of FRRHH was a fantastic opportunity to engage in a cross-disciplinary community of practitioners and researchers that benefited my PhD experience. I was able to share my research of remote, rural, and humanitarian healthcare, and learn from others in these fields too. Contributing to the capabilities framework that was led by FRRHH was really interesting and relevant to the job I have now as an Associate Lecturer (Teaching) in Risk, Disasters, and Humanitarianism. Many thanks to all of the faculty”.
Special Advisor and Former Vice President of RCSEd, Professor John Duncan
Professor John Duncan’s substantial experience as a remote and rural surgeon and leader in the remote and rural community has been a key driving force and crucial to the foundation of FRRHH. Professor John was the former Vice President of RCSEd and highlights the vision behind FRRHH and bringing the Faculty to the College in 2017:
“For over 500 years, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has sought to improve health care by education and by setting and assessing standards of training. A group of senior figures in the provision of remote and rural healthcare from the UK and across the globe, as well as others involved in Humanitarian work, approached the College in 2017 asking if it would form a Faculty to enable those principles to be applied in these settings. As a surgeon in Inverness, the provision of healthcare to remote and rural communities was part of my working life. I was able to bring that experience to play when, as Vice President, I was responsible for the work to set up the Faculty within the College. The response from across the globe has been far greater than I expected, and it is extremely satisfying to see the Faculty working so effectively to give remote rural and humanitarian care an academic home”.
First Chair of FRRH (before incorporating Humanitarian in 2020) and First Faculty Advisory Board Co-Chair, Alistair Fraser
Alistair Fraser is the Founder and Director of the mental fitness start-up, NeuHealth. Alistair initially became involved in the Faculty as a structure to broaden and improve individual practitioner capability and create career structures for remote practitioners. He was the first Chair of FRRH (before it incorporated Humanitarian in 2020) and the first Faculty Advisory Board Co-Chair. Alistair shares his involvement in the Faculty:
“It’s inspiring to witness this Faculty grow from concept, to organisation, to collaborative community enhancing health in remote, rural and humanitarian environments. Pre-Faculty, the focus was North Sea medics, swiftly expanding to global, all medical professionals and diverse groups such as managers and researchers. Urban needs shaped healthcare, creating critical gaps in standards, training, delivery structures and human outcomes in remote rural humanitarian communities. Gaps become opportunities, underpinned by a broad competence framework that supports healthcare anywhere. We will advance research, technology, course accreditation, health delivery models, and career paths, all fuelled by the unwavering support of the RCSEd”.
Faculty Advisory Board Co-Chair, Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie
The Faculty is honored to have the immeasurable experience and knowledge that Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie brings to the Faculty. He worked as a medical doctor in general practice and medical research and contributed a great deal of commitment and moral to front line staff and was a regular visitor to NHS 24 centres. Professor Sir Lewis Ritchie is the Co-Chair of the Faculty Advisory Board, and shares his involvement in the Faculty:
'The health care needs of remote and rural communities throughout the world is abundantly and presently evident, in fast moving international crises. Marshalling an effective, equitable and global humanitarian healthcare response is imperative and pressing for all present and future challenges. The Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare (FRRHH) of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh was founded to enable and empower health care workers across the globe, irrespective of discipline, location or circumstance. Striving for professional excellence in these endeavours is essential and that needs to be both fully recognised and accredited. It has been a privilege to have been part of the inception and realisation of FRRHH. This five year milestone is welcome, to be celebrated - as is the compelling aspiration for us to press on to realise our full potential'.
First Webinar Chair: Hosted by Viking Surgeons Association, 2020
The Faculty hosted its first webinar in collaboration with the Viking Surgeons Association (VSA) in 2020. Since then, the Faculty has partnered with VSA to deliver a series of webinars focused on Rural Surgery.
Gordon MacFarlane, Viking Surgeons Association Member:
“We were delighted to partner with the FRRHH for the Viking Surgeons Association Annual Meeting in 2020 and could not have managed to change to an on-line format without the able assistance of the Faculty. Through our own contacts, and Faculty contacts, the meeting went from less than 40 attendees mainly from Scotland, to over 200 Remote and Rural Surgeons linking into the programme from many different parts of the world. This sparked off a series of very popular webinars over the next two years with many topics relevant to the rural surgeon”.
David Michael Sedgwick, Viking Surgeons Association Member:
“Every cloud has a silver lining! Following all the restrictions imposed during and after lockdown, the widespread use of Zoom and other online platforms for Webinars enabled the surgical community to meet and exchange ideas. RCSEd embraced this technology and in particular the Faculty of Remote, Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare. In collaboration with the Faculty, the Viking Surgeons Association, comprising surgeons working in the Scottish Highlands and Islands as well as rural hospitals around the North Atlantic basin, were able to stage their 47th annual conference on-line in September 2020 over 3 evenings discussing Trauma care in rural areas, tips and tricks for the Rural General Surgeon and how to train the rural general surgeon. This opened up the audience from 20 – 30 surgeons to almost 500 worldwide on some occasions as well as enabling speakers from Asia and Australia to contribute as speakers. This collaboration led on to a number of monthly webinars culminating in a hybrid Viking Surgeons Association annual conference for 2022 based in Skye but transmitted around the world thanks to the support from FRRHH and the AV department at RCSEd".
First Faculty Led Webinar Chair: Hosted by Professor Anthony Redmond, 2021
Professor Anthony Redmond OBE is the founder of UK-Med, Emeritus Professor of Emergency Medicine, Keele University and Professor of International Emergency Medicine, University of Manchester. In addition, he is also on the Executive Committee the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) and Faculty of Remote Rural and Humanitarian (FRRHH).
The first Faculty led webinar, titled Humanitarian Healthcare - What I Wish I Had Known, was chaired by Professor Anthony Redmond in 2021. Professor Redmond acknowledges the significant progress made by the Faculty since its establishment five-years ago:
“In the five years since its launch the faculty of Remote Rural and Humanitarian Healthcare has firmly established itself as a professional home for those healthcare professionals working in some of the most difficult, and at times hostile, environments.
In support of its growing membership, educational activities have been expanded, and a framework of core capabilities for practitioners identified to guide and support their professional development.
We look forward to receiving many more applications for faculty membership and fellowship, with bearers of the faculty's post nominals then proudly showing these as a recognition of their achievements in, and commitment to, one of the most demanding, but one of the most rewarding, areas of healthcare delivery”.
First Organisation Member to join the Faculty: Interactive Health Ltd, 2019
Interactive Health Ltd (IHL) was the first Organisation Member to join the Faculty in 2019. Alan White, Director, shares his reflections on the journey:
“Within less than a year of us joining FRRHH we had the shared experience of COVID-19. For too many this meant the death and suffering of loved ones and colleagues as well as enduring the debilitating impact of Long COVID. For us it meant breaking the chain in piloting our Well@Practice digital health toolkit with Community Health Workers at remote locations in Rwanda and `Kenya.
As we emerged from the pandemic it was exciting to re-engage with colleagues and to make new connections at the [Rethinking Remote – Scotland’s Rural Health] Conference last year in Aviemore. We are very much looking forward to more great networking at the 2024 [Rethinking Remote – Scotland’s Rural Health] Conference in Inverness”.
First FRRHH Fellowship Fund recipients, 2021
In November 2021, the Faculty awarded almost £30,000 to seven inspiring projects taking place in Burundi, Kenya, Liberia, Nepal, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The recipients of the FRRHH Fellowship Fund 2021 include: Ashutosh Kumar Singh, Barnabas Alayande, Michael Mwachiro, Muhammad Zeeshan Aslam, Nigel Rossiter, Richard Miti, and Tracern Mugodo.
FRRHH Fellowship Fund recipient, Dr Barnabas Alayande, 2021
Dr Barnabas Alayande, is a general surgeon who serves as the inaugural global surgery fellow with the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), Rwanda and as a Senior Research Fellow with the Harvard Program in Global Surgery and Social Change.
As one of the recipients, Dr Alayande expresses appreciation for the support provided by the FRRHH Fellowship Fund, emphasising its significant impact on his project:
"The FRRHH Fellowship Fund supported our work conducted in rural North-Central Nigeria, which assessed surgical care access and the burden of neglected surgical diseases. Our studies revealed the lack of granular data on rural surgical health facilities in the region, which hampers equitable surgical planning. Using multidisciplinary teams and survey tools, we identified the status of surgical care facilities, emergency, and anaesthesia services, and gathered epidemiological data on untreated surgical diseases. The findings highlighted significant gaps in access to surgical care in rural areas and are informing the creation of a local surgical research centre, in addition to work with policy and advocacy experts to influence government policies and advocate for improved surgical care. I am thankful for the opportunity FRRHH gave me to mentor teams and suggest changes to public health practice for rural settings in Nigeria”.
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