Online Interactive Learning for the Pacific Islands

June 12, 2018| Our Community /

Last month distance interactive online learning sessions for Pacific Islands physicians, surgeons and nurses commenced with the support of Epworth Geelong Gastroenterologist, Associate Professor Chris Hair.

As a founding member of the Australian and New Zealand Gastroenterology International Training Association (ANZGITA), Assoc. Prof. Hair has spent close to a decade assisting the development of endoscopy and gastroenterology through teaching and advocacy in many lower middle income countries in the Pacific.


In his most recent project, Assoc. Prof. Hair has championed the use of digital technologies to provide more teaching opportunities and better immediate patient care when it comes to in gastroenterology and endoscopy across the massive Pacific region.
Through collaboration with Dr Payne Perman (Pohnpei) and Ms Christina Higa (University of Hawaii), Assoc. Prof Hair hosts GI tele-health education sessions using internet video conferencing. Around 15 clinicians, from over 12 island nations including Pohnpei, American Samoa, Ebeye, Palau, Samoa, Fiji and Marshall Islands have participated in conferences to date.

Being interactive in nature, the online sessions provide participants with an opportunity to present relevant cases that they have been involved in.

Assoc. Prof Hair spoke of the practical benefits of the education sessions “in the first conference, one provider generated strong discussion amongst the group after presenting a video recording of a difficult endoscopy that he had performed just hours earlier.

“After the session, the doctor went back to the case and performed a successful biopsy that very afternoon, which indicates the immediate impact that the conferences can have on clinical outcomes in these areas.”

My vision is to continue to provide high quality education that is respectful to the resource limited way that medicine and surgery is practiced in the Pacific Islands.
— Assoc. Prof. Chris Hair, Gastroenterologist, Epworth HealthCare

The ongoing sessions will be held on the third Friday of every month, with Gastroenterology and Hepatology focused topics to be decided upon by the participating nations.

Epworth physicians, nurses and educators with experience in Gastroenterology are encouraged to get involved in the interactive conferences. All that is required is a short case study PowerPoint presentation, access to a computer and internet. To find out more about this initiative or the work of ANZGITA, contact Assoc. Prof. Chris Hair at Epworth Geelong or visit

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