FIENS

Celebrating 50 years of service!

HISTORY OF FIENS

SIGNIFICANT DATES

1969  – The start of the FIENS organization. 

1979   – Neurosurgical training program established in Taiwan by David Fairholm.

1984  – Standardized neurosurgical training established in Indonesia.

1989  – First volunteer sent to Ghana.

1992  – First volunteer sent to Honduras.

1995   – Development of a neurosurgical unit in Kathmandu, Nepal.

2000   – Microsurgery lab established at the Hospital Escuela, Honduras.

2001   – The first neuro-vascular workshop established in India.

2005   – Establishment of East Africa neurosurgical training program involving Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

2007   – Establishment of 1st Pan-African Neurosurgical Society

2009   – Establishment of neurosurgical residency in Ecuador

2010   – Simultaneous electronic course developed with residents in North America and Africa

2012  – Foundation of Neurosurgical dyads linking training program in the developed and developing world

2013  – Recognition of Continental Association of African Neurosurgical Societies ( CAANS). This replaced the Pan African Association of Neurological Sciences (PAANS), as the continent's representative at the WFNS

2013   – Partnering begins with major national and international societies to establish and maintain global neurosurgical education.

2014 - Board of Directors expands to include Community Board Members and also expanded curriculum and electronic offerings. New collaborations in China, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe have been developed.

2015 – Expanded electronic communication and dyads between programs continue in Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Nicaragua, and Myanmar.  New facilities have been built in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. A scholarship program for trainees has been developed allowing them to finish certain aspects of training, increase their connection to the dyad developed program, and in some cases support them in training in their native continent.  A program for secure shipment and maintenance of necessary equipment has been instituted.  The first neurosurgical “Boot Camp” training was held in South America with hopes to expand this to consistent curriculum in Asia and Africa. 

2016 – The second Boot Camp took place in Africa, hosted by the program in Cape Town.  Standardized FIENS curriculum for education is modifiable to local sites throughout the world and available on our website

2017 – Another Boot Camp was held in Yangon, Myanmar. Hardware support for sites in the developing world, such as I-Pads for combined and ongoing rounds and electronic consultations is provided. 

2018 – A course in Mombasa held emphasizing education throughout the Sub-Saharan East African region is held and also established one of the early graduates of the Nairobi program as the first academic neurosurgeon in Mombasa

2019 -

 Related Articles:

International Education: A 3rd Alternative , by David Fairholm, MD.  
Neurosurgery , ©1986, The Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Neurosurgery in Nepal , by Merwyn Bagan.  
Elsevier Science, Inc., © 1997  
Neurosurgery at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, 
Nepal, by Karim Mukhida, MD; Sushil Shilpakar, MS;  
Mohan Sharma, MS; and Merwyn Bagan, MD/MPH.  
neurosurgery-online.com , ©2005

Founding Members

(Listed Alphabetically)

Joseph P. Evans, MD
Sidney Goldring, MD
George J. Hayes, MD
Kenneth E. Livingston, MD
William H. Mosberg, Jr., MD
Lester A. Mount, MD
Hendrick J. Svien, MD
Raymond K. Thompson, MD
A. Roy Tyrer, Jr., MD
Alfred Uihlein, MD
Harold C. Voris, MD

A NARRATED TIMELINE

The Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery (FIENS) was established in 1969 for the purpose of promoting neurosurgical education and patient care in the developing world. The sites initially developed were in Central America, South America, and Asia.

20 years later FIENS’ turned its attention to Africa. There, the first site was at Korle Bu Hospital, Accra, Ghana and was adopted in 1989. The next site was the neurosurgical unit established by Dr. F. Laurence Levy at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe. Dr. Levy had trained with Dr. Wilder Penfield and, at the time he began to work in Zimbabwe in 1956, he determined that he was the only neurosurgeon between Johannesburg and Cairo.

In 2005 a neurosurgical training program was developed for Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda in East Africa and the College of Surgeons of Central, East, and Southern Africa (COSECSA) approved the curriculum.

About the beginning of the twenty-first century, Dr. Paul H. Young began to travel to Nairobi, Kenya, and thus the evolution of the Neurosurgical Training Program of East Africa. Neurosurgeons from St. Louis, Missouri, rendered assistance to the neurosurgeons in Nairobi and by 2003 requested the help of FIENS.

During the next 2 years, a neurosurgical residency curriculum was created by a joint task force involving neurosurgeons from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. In 2005 the curriculum was presented to the College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa (COSECSA). Ethiopia joined just before the submission of the curriculum to COSECSA and indicated that their residents first would have to pass an examination by Addis Ababa University before they could take the COSECSA examination. COSECSA did approve the residency curriculum.

Two neurosurgical residents, who are qualified in general surgery as well, have completed their training in Ethiopia and will be taking the COSECSA examination this year. The other countries have residents in the earlier years of residency. In addition, Ethiopia has nine other residents in either 3- or 5-year programs depending upon whether or not they have qualified as general surgeons prior to entering neurosurgical training.

Through the tenacious efforts of the involved neurosurgeons to overcome the obstacles of diversity, each of the African nations has maintained its distinct individuality. What was once a dream has become a reality!