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In medicine, mentoring peers on how to launch a training program can be an exciting opportunity for teaching faculty who routinely guide next-generation physicians through the fundamentals. In November 2023, UNC’s Division of Obstetric Anesthesia hosted Visiting Professor Dr. Guillermo Ochoa Gaitan, an anesthesiologist with extensive public-private obstetric anesthesia experience in Mexico City who leads the effort to start an obstetric anesthesia fellowship at his own institution (Centro Médico ABC).

Dr. Ochoa noted: “As an anesthesiologist who specializes in women’s care, I am extremely grateful to have been invited to participate in this program and learn so much from many talented and experienced people in UNC’s Obstetric Anesthesia Division. I felt immensely welcomed by the team. They were not only very professional, but super friendly as well. During my stay, I was able to watch fetal surgeries, protocolized patient management, simulation and many other [activities]. All of this made my experience a very enriching and applicable one for a future program in Mexico City. I would like to especially thank Dr. Cobb for making this experience possible, as well as the administrative and managerial staff who facilitated the shadowing program. I look forward to cultivating our friendship and making the implementation of this program possible.”

Over 10 days, Dr. Ochoa shadowed with Obstetric Anesthesia attendings and trainees to observe how UNC Obstetric Anesthesia fellows (one per year) teach residents and medical students on rotation, lead patient care alongside attendings, and reinforce their mastery of the skills critical to independent practice of this subspecialty. Dr. Ochoa additionally spent extensive time with the obstetric anesthesia fellowship leadership team (led by Program Director Dr. Ben Cobb) discussing curriculum development, accreditation and other structural components essential to developing a one-year Obstetric Anesthesia fellowship at Centro Médico ABC.

Dr. Cobb noted: “As fellowship director of an ACGME-accredited OB Anesthesia fellowship in the U.S., the opportunity to share our experience in training fellows over the past 10 years with a highly experienced peer was immensely gratifying. We have so much to learn from each other, and Dr. Ochoa’s enthusiasm for the specialty and willingness to engage with our team really made this a mutually beneficial relationship. We are excited to see the practice of obstetric anesthesia continue to develop on the international scale through fellowship training. We look forward to fostering our continued relationship with Dr. Ochoa and his team in Mexico City.”

Obstetric Anesthesia Division Chief and Professor of Anesthesiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology Dr. Kathleen Smith added: “Dr. Ochoa clearly has a true passion for women’s health, and for improving access to quality obstetric anesthesia care through the development of subspecialty training in the field. His engagement during his visit made it such a rewarding experience for everyone involved.”