A FAIMER colloquium was held in Philadelphia for staff, invited guests, and online participants on July 25, 2017 that described exciting recent developments at the Biaka University Institute of Buea (BUIB) in Cameroon. The presentation was given by 2012 FAIMER Institute Fellow Maboh Nkwati, who currently serves as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Head of the Department of Nursing at BUIB. Dr. Nkwati spoke about the impact that FAIMER and the fellowship experience has had on him, his colleagues, and his school. He was accompanied by Mrs. Francisca Biaka, Chair and Provost of BUIB, who enthusiastically endorsed the presentation.
Since 2011, three faculty members from BUIB have participated in the FAIMER Institute fellowship program—though, at the time of their fellowships, the school was called St. Francis School of Health Sciences. The addition of business and education schools enabled BUIB to achieve University Institute status in 2016. 2011 FAIMER Institute Fellow Amingkeng Leke serves as BUIB’s Vice Provost for Research/Cooperation/Quality and 2014 Fellow Nyenti Bessem is Program Coordinator for Geriatric Nursing.
Dr. Nkwati reflected back on the education innovation projects that he and his colleagues developed and implemented as part of their FAIMER fellowship experience, which focused on social accountability and capacity building. He believes that these projects, and the ongoing guidance and mentorship provided by their project advisors, have played an important role in their professional development and the elevation of their school to a University Institute.
Over the past several years, Dr. Nkwati and his colleagues have worked on strengthening local partnerships in Cameroon as well as building international partnerships. Their relationship with Dr. Leke’s FAIMER project advisor Cheryl Portwood, Assistant Clinical Professor at the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, in particular, has enabled them to partner with Drexel University in a very unique way. The implementation of a global/virtual classroom, which allows BUIB and Drexel students to engage with each other through a range of interactive technologies, has been a highlight of this partnership. BUIB has also recently moved to an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) model, with students practicing on standardized patients rather than patients.
As BUIB moves into the next phase of its partnership with Drexel, they are exploring options for business school and public health school exchanges. Dr. Nkwati believes that BUIB has a unique opportunity to create synergy between health care, business, and education. Likewise, BUIB hopes to continue to strengthen and build on their relationship with FAIMER, which they believe has played a significant role in the remarkable success they’ve experienced to date.