Gail Rosseau, MD, is the associate chairman of the Inova Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Rosseau has extensive experience with a wide range of neurosurgery procedures. She has a particular interest in caring for patients with cranial base disorders.
We have a single, ambitious vision for the global neurosurgery program at Inova: Create the best center in the world for neurosurgical care and training.
For several years, Inova Neuroscience and Spine Institute has trained neurosurgeons from the developing world as fellows. These fellows then return to their native countries with an ability to provide high-level neurosurgical care to their patients.
In addition, the neurosurgical faculty engages in a robust bidirectional program of visiting professorship involving neurosurgical experts from around the world. Thanks to a new global resolution recently passed by the World Health Organization (WHO), we are also participating in the future of global neurosurgical care and education.
World Health Organization Assembly: Prioritize Surgical Services
Inova’s global neurosurgery program will play an active role in developing pathways to implement the new priorities set by WHO in 2015. WHO is the health care arm of the United Nations. Every year, ministers of health from participating countries meet to set priorities for world health for the coming year.
Since 1980, surgeons, anesthesiologists and obstetricians have advocated for prioritizing emergency and essential surgical services around the world. However, this goal has never passed as a WHO resolution—until this year. The World Health Assembly realized that billions of people around the world do not have access to timely surgical care, leading to chronic pain, disfigurement, infection and death. Four types of surgical procedures with the greatest potential to save lives have been identified: hernia care, obstetrical care, fracture care and evacuation of intracranial mass lesions within the brain.
For the world of neurosurgery, this resolution is a particularly exciting development. Two of the four surgical procedures identified as essential (fracture care, which includes spinal fractures, and evacuation of intracranial lesions) are neurosurgical procedures.
Combating Lack of Surgical Care
In many countries throughout the developing world, there are no neurosurgeons. If a neurosurgery procedure is necessary, there is simply no one in the country qualified to perform it.
The WHO has tasked the neurosurgical committee, called the Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care (GIEESC), to combat this scarcity of surgical services. The committee will:
- Develop a system for training surgeons to perform neurosurgical procedures. This will provide more people with greater access to essential neurosurgical services, like emergency neurosurgery care.
- Develop neurosurgical training programs to train surgeons
- In places where there are no surgeons available, we will develop surgical practices to ensure the safety of the procedures.
Our international neurosurgery program at Inova allows us to connect with neurosurgeons around the world, sharing and learning best neurosurgery practices. We are creating an environment that enables connections and ideas to flow back and forth between our programs and programs around the world. We envision our center leading the charge toward globalization of the highest standards of care in neurosurgical services and education:
- Neurosurgical professors from all over the world lecture and observe at our hospital.
- International residents and medical school students travel to observe our practices and surgeries.
- In terms of global outreach, our faculty members routinely provide classes and lectures to neurosurgeons and trainees in other countries.
Thanks to our experience as a Level I trauma center, the Inova team also has invaluable experience in caring for patients with neurological traumas. This is a tremendous advantage when we work with other countries to improve their neurosurgical services.
Goals for the Global Neurosurgery Program
This “learning and teaching” model will become an even more prominent part of our program as it continues to grow. Future developments include:
- Neurosurgical residency program
- Destination medicine program, so patients from all over the world can come to Inova and receive the best neurosurgical care available
- Welcoming international trainees who will learn the latest techniques and return to their native countries to implement them, with ongoing association with their Inova colleagues
I am excited to have the chance to use my international experience and participation in the WHO’s new surgery initiative to promote the flow of people, ideas and resources between the developed and developing world. We are proud to be part of a mission that aims to give people all over the globe access to excellent neurosurgical care.