Bloomberg Nursing strengthens relationship with Addis Ababa University

28 March 2014

Associate Professor Louise Rose just returned from Addis Ababa University (AAU) in Ethiopia, strengthening the relationship between Bloomberg Nursing and the Department of Nursing at AAU. This trip saw Professor Rose, who is the coordinator of the program, work alongside the faculty there to initiate the first of three teaching trips  in the new critical care sub-stream of their existing Master’s of  Science in Nursing (MScN), Adult Health program. The development of this course content is the latest in a long string of successes for the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration (TAAAC), which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2013. The partnership amongst various faculties at U of T and AAU was developed to assist AAU in strengthening capacity and sustainability in its post-graduate training programs.

Bloomberg Lecturer Amy Bender, as the TAAAC-Nursing coordinator, has been involved with  the AAU Nursing Department for more than seven years, and has watched TAAAC-Nursing’s early efforts flourish into the leading graduate nursing program in Ethiopia. “This shift in the nursing partnership from our earlier focus on research capacity to an explicitly clinical focus brings the interprofessional aspect of the TAAAC collaboration to the foreground. From my perspective it’s the interprofessional potential is one of TAAAC’s greatest strengths,” says Bender. “The benefits of this critical care program to the students and the population are far-reaching. On top of this, it is laying a blueprint for other clinical streams in the AAU program.”

The development of this sub-stream is a significant milestone forAAU– there are 11 students enrolled in the program, and it is the first such program of its kind in Ethiopia. “We are delivering a critical care nursing curriculum focused on taking students into the clinical environment, and providing mentorship in that environment,” says Professor Rose. “Addis Ababa University is heavily invested in the development of this program, and it is complemented with the completion of a MScN in Critical Care and Trauma from the Muhimbili University in Tanzania by two AUU faculty members. It’s exciting to have Tigistu Gebreyohannis as the first Tanzanian graduate to co-facilitate our course with our Toronto teachers (Trip 1 Robin Enns and Jennifer Claybo; Trip 2 Laura Istanboulian and Susan Chernenko; Trip 3 Ruth Rodney and Vanessa Wright). This reflects our goal of contributing to sustainable clinically specialized programs .”

This latest trip is the first of three one-month trips that Bloomberg Nursing faculty will make this year, and are the culmination of a two-year relationship between  Cuso International and TAAAC, who provided funding for this particular initiative between TAAAC and AAU.  Cuso is an international agency run through volunteers, committed to ending poverty and disadvantage through the supportive sharing of skills and knowledge. Bloomberg Nursing is not the only U of T faculty sharing resources with AAU – Cuso also provided TAAAC with resources for two MD specialists in ICU medicine, and a senior learner in ICU medicine as well.

TAAAC and AAU have a history of success in collaboration. Since 2008, ongoing efforts and research have ensured the development of nursing education that is sensitive to the needs of the region and learners there, and has now seen more than 100 students graduate from the Master’s program since 2010. By developing excellent in nursing education, TAAC and AAU are realizing a new vision for nursing and nursing education in Ethiopia.

“Collaborations like this one between TAAAC and AAU are so important,” says Bender. “We can’t improve conditions by parachuting into areas of need for short periods of time. It takes time, support, and relationship building to truly effect change in these regions. Skill sharing between TAAAC and AAU has increased the quality of nursing education in the region, making AAU the top educator in the country. This is truly something that AAU and TAAAC can take great pride in.”