Dr. Isabelle Germano is co-chairing one of the most emblematic committees of WFNS. Actively promoting neurosurgical education worldwide, the Education and Training Committee has organized hundreds of courses, seminars, and hands-on activities. From her position as Prof. of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai (NY, USA) Dr. Germano will introduce you to this important aspect of WFNS Foundation.
Prof. Isabelle M. Germano, MD, MBA is the current Chair of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) Education and Training Committee. She has been leading this committee since 2017 and is a member of the WFNS Foundation Board of Directors. Dr. Germano is a Professor of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Oncological Sciences in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York (NY) where she serves as Vice-Chairman and Director of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program.
Educating the next generation of neurosurgeons is a great privilege and responsibility for our specialty. This evolving process will ensure that our patients who require neurosurgical treatment to receive excellent care, no matter where they are in the world. The mission of the WFNS Education and Training Committee (E&TC) is to facilitate Neurosurgery Education and Training throughout the world with particular attention to low and intermediate income countries (LMIC). Training on-site the new neurosurgery workforce has been the focus of the WFNS Foundation for many years.
In 2002, the WFNS Foundation started the WFNS Rabat Training Center.1 The success of their vision to train neurosurgeon in the same continent where they would practice is proven by the fact that 100% of the trainees returned to practice in their countries, spanning 12 Sub-Sahara African (SSA) countries and comprising a population of 267 million people.2 Collaborative efforts in neurosurgery education are essential to continue increasing the number of neurosurgeons necessary to care for the current world population. The disparities in availability of neurosurgeons pro capita still persist, with SSA having one of the lowest number.3
Our committee complements the work of the WFNS Foundation by providing on-site short courses. These range from didactic sessions, to interactive discussion between senior faculty and young trainees, and hands-on mock-surgical training. Additionally, we provide all there of these components combined in a format referred to as boot-camp. During the pandemic, the in-person on-site training was precluded by health safety issues and substitute by virtual on-site training. Over the past 3 years, the WFNS E&TC activities took place in more than 30 countries located in Africa, South/Central America and South-East Asia.
The WFNS E&TC also facilitates efforts in gathering and exchanging information about neurosurgical training in different countries. In the recent JNS Neurosurgical Focus, entitled: “Neurosurgical International Education” similarities and differences of training programs around the world were compared and contrasted3. Gathering and publishing this information allow us to understand the status of neurosurgery training and to identify the challenges and opportunities while building the next training programs. Ultimately, it is also important to continue attracting to our profession the best and the brightest. In particularly, we believe that sharing the passion for our profession with the children of the world could inspire them to become neurosurgeons4. Unless you have dreams, they cannot come true!
The combined efforts of the WFNS Foundation and WFNS E&TC can make those dreams come true.
1Karekezi C, 2019; PMID: 30910756-2Karekezi C, 2020; PMID: 32114560-3Germano IM, 2020; PMID: 32114545-4 https://fundacionhospitaloptimista.org/neurosurgeon-ebook/