eIFAD - a proposal and vision for the future of the International Fluid Academy
The primary goal of the IFA is to establish an international collaboration group with the final aim to improve and standardize care and outcome of critically ill patients with an emphasis on fluids, fluid management, monitoring and organ support. This can be achieved by collaborative research projects, surveys, guideline development, joint data registration and international exchange of health care workers and researchers.
The International Fluid Academy (IFA) was founded in 2011 with the goals of nurturing education and promoting research on fluid management and organ function monitoring in critically ill patients. Since then, we have brought together a diverse and global cohort of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals from a broad spectrum of clinical disciplines.
Starting with a small regional meeting in Antwerp, Belgium, our activities have expanded to include annual international symposia, 'iFADmini' pop-up conferences, blogs, webinars and collaboration with other professional societies (like ESA and WSACS). Other projects include collaborative research, surveys, guideline development, joint data registration and international exchange of health care workers and researchers.
2020 has been a challenging year for all. The COVID19 pandemic has provoked profound and probably long-lasting changes to healthcare systems but also the delivery of educational material to colleagues. Face-to-face conferences have had to be rescheduled and replaced with online meetings, given the continually evolving travel restrictions. The IFAD conference has not been spared these tribulations.
With the growing awareness of diversity in the workplace, it is essential to create inclusive environments. Recent events on social media have once again brought the issue of gender and racial diversity to the fore. Like other progressive organizations, IFA is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion, specifically focusing on increasing participation of underrepresented groups. IFA has always been proud of the innovation, interaction and provision of opportunities to our next generations of colleagues. We are not perfect, and mistakes have been made. We have reflected upon these issues and are facing them head-on with a renewed vigour.
As we are well aware, the pandemic crisis we are currently living in requires strong leadership at all levels, focusing on human factors or the so-called 'non-technical skills' in addition to the clinical nuance.
We are committed to the following:
- That all future IFA events, starting with the upcoming virtual eIFAD at the end of November, will not have all-white-male panels and will be representative/reflective of the multidisciplinary community in which we belong.
- We are stronger together. We will officially launch #********** as an umbrella term for all future endeavours worldwide to strive for excellence in diversity and a focus on human factors.
- The primary goals of the IFA will remain the same with a focus on “International” and “Academy”
- of or relating to two or more nations or their citizens
At the moment, the IFA is mostly a European-centric organisation. Over the last year, links have been built with colleagues in Latin America and the Middle East. In 2020, planned meetings with colleagues in Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It remains unclear when these face-to-face meetings will resume.
With the move to a more online/digital format, this is an opportunity to be truly international with representation of colleagues from these countries being provided a platform to engage. The lack of representation from such LMIC was a major criticism of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign. I propose that each country be provided a standard template of questions to be answered relating to fluid practice in their respective countries. These could form the basis for future collaborative work or quality improvement projects.
Relevant questions can include:
- What is the most common fluid used in the ED/OR/ICU?
- Are there institutional or national guidelines relating to fluid management?
- Are colloids available in the country?
- What are the research priorities with regards to fluids?
- an association or institution for the advancement of art, literature, or science
- a group of authorities and leaders in a field of scholarship, art, etc., who are often permitted to dictate standards, prescribe methods, and criticize new ideas.
The propose is to review the various resources (blogs, videos, lectures) currently available on fluidacademy.org into a true “Academy” with the intent of turning it into THE main repository of knowledge for all fluid-related matters. This would be made available to members of the Fluid Academy.
Such a resource would form part of a learning pathway for colleagues with regards to fluid management. The library will support learning and discussions at face-to-face or online meetings which would mostly be focussed on discussion and debate. Ultimately, this could also be further consolidated with “Fellowships” or exchange programmes.
Whilst particularly focussed on the current IFA day, there is no reason why this model of “Academy” digital resources, webinars/face-to-face meetings, fellowships etc could not be replicated in other areas such as ECMO (BEACH) or ultrasound (CACU).
A hashtag is there to support specific action plans. We need to reflect and decide on what exactly we are going to do. Something SMART. eg in 2 years time, the scientific committee of the IFA conference will be 50% female.