Global Health Initiatives

VON and the AAP Section on Neonatal Perinatal Medicine are recruiting for six Helping Babies Breathe co-facilitators

If you are a member of TECaN (currently in neonatology fellowship or within 7-years post-fellowship, AAP member), have previously taken a HBB master trainer course but have yet to lead a course internationally, you can apply to co-facilitate with an experienced faculty member.  To apply, email your CV and a brief (one-page) letter describing your interest in incorporating HBB into your global health activities, and why this experience will be meaningful to you to  The six selected TECaN members will qualify for a $1000 scholarship to be used toward travel expenses, courtesy of the Section on Neonatal Perinatal Medicine.  Deadline to apply for co-facilitator: July 31, 2018.

Support for the Only Practicing Neonatologist in Zimbabwe

VON develops partnerships and supports health professionals around the world with training and research that addresses specific needs and constraints of resource-limited settings. Over the years, these relationships have evolved into a worldwide community of neonatal practice. The community would not exist without support from members, and you can contribute to our shared vision with a gift to the VON Global Health Fund.

During the 2017 Annual Quality Congress, we raised funds to support the African Pediatric Fellowship training of Dr. Marcia Mangiza, who will establish evidence-based improvement and provide high quality care for newborns in Zimbabwe, a country without any currently practicing neonatologists.

VON’s global health program helped establish evidence-based improvements for newborn care in Ethiopia during a pilot program, which has led to a growing community of practice there. With your support, Dr. Mangiza will help drive a culture of improving newborn care in Zimbabwe.

VON will match the first $15,000 in donations. Please contribute here today.

To see more about the impact of the African Pediatric Fellowship Program, click here.

Tikur Anbessa NICU Project

In Ethiopia, approximately 89,000 babies die every year in the first four weeks of life. This accounts for 47% of all deaths in children younger than 5 years of age in Ethiopia. The Countdown to 2015 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that primary causes of neonatal deaths are due to prematurity, perinatal asphyxia, sepsis, pneumonia, and congenital anomalies.

TAH_NICU_logo_croppedThe aim of the Addis Ababa University / Vermont Oxford Network / Tikur Anbessa NICU Project collaboration is to improve the quality of medical care for newborn infants and their families in Ethiopia through training and research designed to address the specific needs and resource constraints of the country. As partnerships evolve, a global community of neonatal practices will be created and supported that includes health professionals from diverse settings around the world.


Since 2009, teams of medical professionals from the US have served as volunteers at the Tikur Anbessa Hospital NICU. Together, we have worked to improve the physical environment with room separation, renovations, and individualized blended oxygen. We collaboratively implemented management guidelines for IV fluids, enteral feeding, iron and multivitamin supplementation, standardized documentation, and high-risk NICU follow-up. Our multi-disciplinary teams led focused medical practice improvement initiatives including hand hygiene, feeding protocols, and hypothermia prevention. Vermont Oxford Network and Tikur Anbessa Hospital thank the medical professionals who have generously volunteered their time and expertise.



TA_faculty_croppedVermont Oxford Network is extremely proud to have trained, and continue to work with the first three Ethiopian-trained neonatologists, Dr. Asrat Demtse, Dr. Goitom Gebreyesus, and Dr. Hailu Berta.

In 2015, in support of Vermont Oxford Network’s mission and vision, Danielle Ehret MD, MPH was appointed as the inaugural Director of Global Health. In pursuit of our aim, our current initiatives include the design and implementation of a delivery room resuscitation team at Tikur Anbessa Hospital. Our team is modeling quality improvement in a low-income country setting, with the goal of sharing our experience and knowledge. We are also working with partners at the Ethiopian Pediatric Society to develop a standardized NICU database for the country, and to share our expertise in collaborative networks. We strive to support the curriculum and continuation of the neonatology fellowship at Tikur Anbessa Hospital, and the education of Ethiopia’s leading neonatal experts and our colleagues.


We have developed strong professional relationships among health care providers in our two countries and contributed to the training of Ethiopian health professionals in neonatal medicine and nursing. We thank all of the staff and trainees at the Tikur Anbessa Hospital for the hospitality, kindness, learning opportunities, and professional collegiality that our volunteers have received. We look forward to many more successful years ahead.



To learn more about volunteering, please read our Orientation Manual