In the four years Danish Bhatti, M.D., has been offering his mini-fellowship in movement disorders, he has never had as many applicants as he had this year.
The program explores disorders such as Parkinson's, ataxia and orthostatic tremor, and Dr. Bhatti developed it at UNMC.
The enthusiasm for the program, which generally sees six to nine participants in years past, surprised Dr. Bhatti.
"We had 44 interested physicians from all over the world, including six from the United States," said Dr. Bhatti, an associate professor of neurological sciences in the UNMC College of Medicine.
In the end, 28 physicians were reviewed for the program and 14 accepted representing 11 countries, including: the U.S., Australia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
Among the fellows are the president-elect of the American Society of Neuropysiology Monitoring and two neurologists from Sioux Falls, S.D.
The six-month fellowship is offered entirely online and began June 1. Each fellow is assigned a faculty mentor and will take part in live sessions, online lectures, assigned research and reading. They also have the opportunity to discuss their own clinical cases and gain insight into the latest best practices on treating movement disorders.
With the large number of fellows this year, Dr. Bhatti enlisted the help of four movement disorder faculty and three senior fellows from UNMC.
"The key factor for the success of this program is that we are replicating a formal fellowship that would normally require a physician to leave their practice for a year to complete and condensing that into a six-month program provided on a virtual platform that allows the participants to stay in their home countries and continue with their clinical practice," Dr. Bhatti said.
This is critical, he said, because several of the fellows, those from Kuwait, Dubai and Ethiopia, are the only movement disorder specialists in their countries.
It was important for Dr. Bhatti that the physicians selected for the fellowship would have the greatest impact.
"In designing this fellowship I was very mindful of those physicians who do not have access to these training programs in their region, but who provide care to the most impoverished patients," he said.
"I am excited to offer this kind of virtual fellowship, which allows clinicians to gain the knowledge and skills they need and can in turn share with their peers in their own institutions thereby providing the best care possible for patients suffering with movement disorders," Dr. Bhatti said.
"Dr. Bhatti has developed an innovative program by providing important information in a virtual environment. This is a great example of how innovative virtual approaches can be used. When the world needed more virtual options, Dr. Bhatti's program was already up and running and ready to receive more participants," said Jane Meza, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for global engagement at UNMC and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
The global intake this year truely makes this program a real international neurology platform which will help the UNMC movement disorder education sprout through the world, beyond borders. Kudos, Dr. Bhatti.
Congratulations, Dr. Bhatti! This is the clear result of the enormous amount of time and effort you've put into developing such an intensive and high-quality program. You are a making a real difference to physicians and countless patients across the world!
We are so proud of your hard work Danish. You have created this outstanding mini-fellowship but more important than that is the impact that you are having across the globe.
Congrats to Dr. Bhatti. This really sounds like a great program. World class!