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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with a plan to invest $130 million over five years to transform African medical education and dramatically increase the number of health care workers. Through the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI), grants are being awarded directly to African institutions in a dozen countries, working in partnership with U.S. medical schools and universities. The initiative will form a network including about 30 regional partners, country health and education ministries, and more than 20 U.S. collaborators. Girma Tefera, MD, Associate Professor in the Division of Vascular Surgery, will lead the partnership in Ethiopia at Addis Ababa University.

In 2007, Dr. Tefera initiated an international collaboration with Addis Ababa University. That year, three surgeons from Ethiopia visited the Department of Surgery for six weeks to acquire new skills and knowledge in laparoscopy, surgical oncology and trauma.

Dr. Tefera expanded on this relationship in June of 2009 when two surgeons from our department, Dr. Dennis Lund and Dr. Jon Gould, joined Dr. Tefera in Ethiopia. Dr. Gould focused his efforts on laparoscopic training and proctored and assisted surgeons on the first laparoscopic cholecystectomy performed at the University of Addis Ababa. Dr. Lund trained junior faculty in operative techniques for pediatric patients. Later that year, four physicians and four nurse leaders from Ethiopia came to UW-Madison for training in emergency medicine by UW School of Medicine and Public Health faculty.

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