SPARC Workshop Explores Critical Challenges of Children’s Healthcare

The School of Medical Science and Technology at IIT Kharagpur recently held an Indo-UK Residential Workshop in collaboration with the University of Manchester, UK, on the “Practical Management of Inherited Pediatric Hematological Disorders”. The focus was on clinical reasoning of cases related to children’s blood and bone marrow disorders using an interactive problem-based learning approach with direct interactions with globally renowned experts.

The areas covered in the workshop included the workup of the child presenting with signs and symptoms of reduction in the number of various blood cells, or cytopenias including pancytopenia or bone marrow failure. Workup included understanding the genetics behind certain syndromes, targeted testing, and treatment planning including an overview of bone marrow transplantation. Other topics covered included understanding cognitive errors in clinical decision making and computerized clinical decision support systems.

Experts from IIT Kharagpur, University of Manchester, Tata Medical Center and Tata Translational Cancer Research Centre, Kolkata, and NRS Medical College participated in this three-day workshop which was sponsored under the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC), an initiative of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India.

Among the speakers were Prof. Vaskar Saha from the University of Manchester and Director of the Tata Translational Cancer Research Center a pediatric oncologist and hematologist and an expert in the care of children with leukemia. He worked through cases with participants to guide thinking on how to approach the child with a complex bone marrow disorder to come up with a diagnosis that could then lead to a treatment plan. Dr. Shekhar Krishnan, senior consultant in paediatrics hematology and oncology at TMC-TTCRC discussed bone marrow transplant.

Diagnosis was a focus area of the workshop. Dr. Niharendu Ghara senior paediatric consultant at TMC-TTCRC Kolkata discussed targeted approaches to diagnostic testing making sure to find the right test for the right situation, Dr. Rajib De from NRS Medical College discussed thalassemia in the context of Eastern India and approaches to screening, diagnosis, and management.

Prof. Jayanta Mukhopadhyay from IIT Kharagpur’s Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering discussed automated clinical decision support systems and their role in improving clinical decision making. Prof. Sangeeta Das Bhattacharya of SMST discussed cognitive errors in clinical decision making.

Students from diverse areas such as MBBS, Masters in Medical Science & Technology, MD, postdoctoral fellows, and clinical fellows in hematology participated in the workshop. The participants gained insights from master clinicians in real-time in clinical reasoning through case-based learning.

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