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Championing Child Health: USD Professor’s ongoing mission in Uganda

As the University of San Diego began celebrating its 75th anniversary in January, a faculty member at the university’s Hahn School of Nursing and Health Sciences quietly planned another academic visit to Uganda to improve child health outcomes.

Associate Professor of Pediatric Nursing Martha Grant Fuller has conducted education and research for several years in Uganda, providing continuing education and training to many nurses at Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital.

“In recent years, hospitals in Uganda have increased their capacity to provide neonatal care to premature babies and those with birth asphyxia, serious infections and other conditions,” says Fuller. “Now they’re trying to set up regular systems to follow these kids after they’re discharged.”

“Groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and California Children’s Services all recommend that babies who were born early or who had significant problems at birth be seen longitudinally using an organized system,” says Fuller. “This is how we assess the growth, neurological and developmental outcomes of infants and children who were born prematurely or very ill at birth – the aims of these programs include clinical care and research and can also act as a way to measure the quality of care provided. “

Fuller is a recognized expert in researching the long-term health outcomes of preemies, with more than 25 years in the field as a nurse. In his work, Fuller has become a “Gold Standard” examiner for multi-site studies for the National Institutes of Health, responsible for certifying other examiners to ensure that all assessments are conducted in a reliable and standardized manner.

Fuller currently provides research assessments for the Sharp Neonatal Research Institute and is responsible for certifying examiners from other locations to perform the developmental assessment.

She traveled to Mbarara, Uganda, a day’s drive from the country’s capital, Kampala, where she shared her expertise in developing a longitudinal follow-up program, training nurses, doctors and physicians at Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital in a day-long mini-conference on Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Follow-up . Twenty-seven professionals took part, some of them from as far away as the “West Nile” region of Uganda – a 14-hour drive to the northwest bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan

This took place on June 11 at Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital.

The Hahn School of Nursing at the University of San Diego has a long association with Holy Innocents Children’s Hospital. Anita Hunter, PhD, RN, former faculty at the USD Hahn School was instrumental in the efforts to found this groundbreaking hospital in 2008.

James Grant

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