Assessing the Impact of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA) Visiting Scholar Program

Michael J. Heffernan, Children's Hospital of New Orleans
Bryant Song, Children's Hospital of New Orleans
Karen M. Bovid, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
Claudia Leonardi, LSU Health Sciences Center- New Orleans
Eric D. Fornari, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University


Background:The primary objective of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA)-Children's Orthopaedics in Underserved Regions (COUR) Visiting Scholar Program is to engage emerging leaders from low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) in POSNA educational offerings. This study aims to outline the educational and leadership activities pursued by the alumni of the POSNA-COUR Visiting Scholars Program. We hypothesized that there may be a discrepancy between visiting scholar interest level and actual participation in key follow-up educational and leadership activities.Methods:A 32-question online survey developed by the POSNA-COUR committee was electronically delivered to the POSNA-COUR visiting scholarship recipients from 2007 to 2019. The survey inquired about scholars' educational background, clinical practice, and academic interests. Respondents also reported educational, research, and leadership activities that occurred following program participation.Results:Fifty-seven percent (44/77) of the previous scholars participated in the survey. Sixty-eight percent reported that >75% of their practice was comprised of pediatric patients. The COUR scholarship afforded 15 scholars the opportunity to attend their first educational conference in North America. The majority (86%) of respondents consulted POSNA members on care-related issues, 52% organized a POSNA member's visit to their country, and 13% have become members of POSNA. Scholars shared their knowledge with colleagues through lectures (73%), demonstration of surgical skills (63%), mentorship (59%), hosting local courses (43%), and research (14%). There was a significant discrepancy between interest and actual participation in research (98% vs. 16%, P<0.0001), hosting a regional course (98% vs. 43%, P<0.0001), and becoming a member of POSNA (96% vs. 13%, P<0.0001).Conclusions:The POSNA-COUR Visiting Scholar Program is effective at providing beneficial educational opportunities to orthopaedic surgeons from LMICs. There is, however, a significant discrepancy between reported scholar interest and actual engagement in leadership endeavors including: research, organization of regional courses, and POSNA membership. The impact of the POSNA-COUR visiting scholar program can be enhanced through collaboration with scholarship alumni in these key areas.Level of Evidence:Level IV-case series.