October, 2021

Dear Friends,

Over the last year, there has certainly been much discussion about virtual training and e-learning as we have all learned to adapt to Zoom calls, and distance training. This takes various forms – from live lectures on Zoom, to pre-recorded PowerPoint presentations, to WhatsApp mentoring – all based on what works best for the project site and the volunteer. One e-learning format that we are really excited to share is being piloted at Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital in Kampot, Cambodia. HVO has partnered with The World Telehealth Initiative (WTI) to provide technology which improves access to patient care over a great distance. As their mission statement indicates, “The World Telehealth Initiative provides sustainable medical expertise to the world’s most vulnerable communities to build local capacity and deliver core health services, through a network of volunteer health care professionals supported with state-of-the-art technology.”

The technology used is a Teledoc Health device, a robotic piece of equipment with a tilt camera that enables the staff at the project site to transmit photos and descriptions directly to a computer across the world, allowing an HVO volunteer to provide training. The first HVO volunteer to employ the technology was Richard Wise, MD, who is working with the Emergency Medicine project. After his first lecture using the device Dr. Wise emailed to say, “I almost felt guilty being ‘in the room’ but not wearing a mask as everyone else was, though I guess social distancing of about 8000 miles should be enough.”

This is truly technology that brings the world together, and HVO is excited to pilot this opportunity. If you are interested in exploring opportunities in e-learning, please contact one of our volunteer placement coordinators to discuss ways to become involved.

Please stay safe!

Sincerely,
Nancy
Nancy A. Kelly, MHS
Executive Director
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how dentists and oral health professionals can volunteer their skills and expertise to improve oral health globally. Volunteers are faced with many, often complicated, travel regulations, infection control protocols and program management issues. This course will explain how an HVO volunteer program in Nepal adjusted to the travel barriers and implemented virtual education with US volunteers to continue the program during the pandemic.
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