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Improving Medical Teaching Skills in South America Through the ISN Mentorship Program

From left to right: Dr. Carolina Acosta (academic director, UCA Asunción), Dr. María Magdalena Mayor (dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, UCA Asunción), Dr. Francisco Santa-Cruz (ISN Mentor and director of research at UCA Asunción) and Dr. René Scalet dos Santos Neto (ISN Mentee and Professor of medicine, Faculdades Pequeno Principe) at the Hydroelectrolytic Disorders Course for UCA medical undergraduate students held in Asunción in August, 2022

Dr. René Scalet dos Santos Neto, a nephrology specialist, and professor at the Faculdades Pequeno Príncipe in Curitiba, Brazil, has enjoyed a constructive partnership as a mentee with mentor Dr. Francisco Santa-Cruz, a specialist in nephrology and hypertension at the UCA in Asuncion, Paraguay, for almost a year.

Through the ISN Mentorship Program, despite a language barrier, the mentorship pair worked together to help Dr. Scalet improve his teaching skills and generate more interest in the Dr. Santa-Cruz has decades of experience in medical teaching in Paraguay and is well-respected for his work on renal physiology, his main field of work at UCA Asunción.

Dr. Scalet, currently studying a master’s degree course, ‘Teaching in the Health Sciences,’ received guidance and invaluable insights from Dr. Santa-Cruz in developing a for his dissertation. Dr. Scalet’s thesis addresses an apparent lack of interest in nephrology from medical students, partly due to its reputation as a complex topic. He is interested in finding solutions to overcome this reluctance and increase student interest in the specialty to help combat the shortage of nephrologists, an issue worldwide.

The pair designed a course on hydroelectrolytic disorders held for undergraduate students at UCA Asunción in August 2022.  During the course, a questionnaire developed as part of Dr. Scalet’s thesis was administered for students to The results will be written up as a scientific article and . Commenting on the course, Dr. Scalet said, “It was an exciting event that provided the essence of the ISN Mentoring program: the integration of different cultures for a common purpose.”

In addition, Dr. Scalet highlighted the strength of the partnership and thanked the ISN for the opportunity. Mentor and mentee look forward to future collaborations between their institutions and within ISN Programs.

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