23 November 2022 | Story André Damons | Photo Supplied
Dr Champion Nyoni
Dr Champion Nyoni, Senior Researcher in the School of Nursing, has achieved a landmark in his career by contributing to an article in The Lancet.

A researcher in the School of Nursing at the University of the Free State (UFS), together with other researchers from Brazil, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, was invited by The Lancet to write a paper related to the Frenk et al. paper on ‘Transforming health professionals’ education’.

Dr Champion Nyoni, Senior Researcher in the School of Nursing, says this is a landmark achievement in his career – being recognised as a researcher by The Lancet and publishing in such a prestigious journal, which is a first for the School of Nursing. The Lancet is a globally recognised and influential journal in health sciences. The journal boasts a wide readership and impact factor above 200. It has an extensive global reach, with more than 42,5 million annual visits on TheLancet.com, and 268,7 million downloaded articles across TheLancet.com and ScienceDirect.

According to Dr Nyoni, the Frenk et al. paper has significantly influenced health professions education and research over the past decade. This paper has been updated with the publication of the Frenk et al (2022) paper focusing on Health Professions Education after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Invitation to contribute 

He was invited to contribute to this work in October this year, and the piece was published later the same month. Within two weeks of publication, the paper was reshared by major organisations such as the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE) in the UK. Dr Nyoni believes he was invited to contribute because of his involvement in various global collaborative projects that are focused on the development of scholarship in interprofessional education – and we are spearheading global research on the development of educator competencies within the interprofessional space. 

In addition, he is also the chairperson of several renowned organisations specifically for the advancement of interprofessional education and collaborative practice. “I am the current Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Africa Interprofessional Education Network (AfrIPEN), and Deputy Chair of the Board for Interprofessional.Global – a global confederation of interprofessional networks based in the Netherlands.”

Curated literature including research articles

Dr Nyoni and his colleagues’ publication drew on global experience of implementing interprofessional education and practice, including specific challenges and opportunities for the future. Uniquely, the paper highlighted issues related to variations in educational contexts and perspectives from the so-called Global South, including specific suggestions for global research in interprofessional education and practice.

According to him, he curated literature from research articles, policy documents, and strategic initiatives of various organisations, including the World Health Organisation (WHO). He co-wrote the initial draft and collaborated on the revisions and comments. 

Dr Nyoni says the process of writing was quite interesting – they had a very short time to put the piece together, drawing on expertise, experience, and research outcomes, as well as priorities from the various contexts. “Literature was used for this futuristic work, and we aligned with some of the priorities from regional networks and our contexts. There were a lot of sleepless nights dealing with the review process, as The Lancet uses a very rigorous peer-review process. We also had to balance the various time zones – I mean, the UK is easy to deal with – but Brazil and Singapore, that’s another ball game. Often, the meetings or discussion were during interesting times,” he says. 

Dr Nyoni, who became the first UFS staff member and only the third African to win the prestigious Sigma Emerging Nurse Researcher/Scholar award, says he is thrilled with this achievement, which is a mark of excellence for the School of Nursing and the university. Furthermore, he encourages younger researchers to focus on excellence in research towards more meaningful and impactful outcomes.

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