Education is one of the cornerstones of BioGaia’s operations. Already in the 1990s seminars were arranged at trade fairs for doctors and other healthcare professionals, which today are an established and extensive activity. In parallel with this type of education another, more in-depth form of training has been developed.

In 2017, this initiative was launched under the name BioGaia Academy. Charlotta Grahn, Corporate Marketing Manager Education and Events at BioGaia and responsible for BioGaia Academy, describes the initiative.

BIOGAIA MAKES KEY INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION WITH A NEW DIGITAL PLATFORM

What is the BioGaia Academy?
“BioGaia Academy is the name of the education umbrella that covers BioGaia’s most important and most extensive external training. This key investment started in 2017 when we developed training for paediatricians with the main aim of increasing knowledge of probiotics and encouraging global scientific collaboration. The programme has been developed in close cooperation with leading experts in the field who are also tutors for the course. The education mainly consists of digital online modules for self-study with some complementary webinars and face-to-face meetings to promote interaction and networking.”

How many courses have you arranged so far?
“Following the pilot course, which started in April 2018, we held one additional course for paediatricians in 2020. We are currently working on developing a corresponding course for dentists which will start in 2021. During the year we will also launch a training programme in paediatrics aimed at our partners.”

“Our goal has been to have a maximum of 20 doctors on each course and some 35 doctors have graduated from the two courses within paediatrics we have held so far.”

Why is BioGaia taking this initiative?
“The main aim is to raise awareness and knowledge of probiotics and their positive effects in a range of different areas where BioGaia has a strong scientific base. Hopefully, the training will also promote networking and communication among the participants and hence create more ambassadors for probiotics.”

What are the future plans?
“In addition to the partner programme in paediatrics which will be launched soon and the training for dentists, we also plan to integrate our internal training with the BioGaia Academy platform. We also want to develop an additional course for partners within oral health. In the longer term we are also evaluating the possibility to develop a programme in the area of healthy aging. We are also discussing developing courses for consumers. There is a considerable need for education and knowledge in all target groups and since probiotic research is literally exploding, we believe that this demand will increase further in the future.”

The participants’ knowledge level improved considerably during the first training programme that BioGaia Academy carried out. This indicates that there is still a lot to do.

FLAVIA INDRIO

Why have you become involved with BioGaia Academy?
Because I think that continual medical further education is very important. Creating networks of researchers and people who are interested in a specific area contributes to valuable skills.

What is your role in BioGaia Academy?
I am one of the researchers involved in designing the training and I am also a speaker and expert.

Knowledge of probiotics has improved significantly in recent years. Is there still a need to educate doctors about this?
The participants’ knowledge level improved considerably during the first training programme that BioGaia Academy carried out. This indicates that there is still a lot to do.

Flavia Indrio, Senior Consultant Neonatologist Paediatric Gastroenterologist, Department of Paediatrics, University of Bari, Italy

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BioGaia Academy was a fantastic experience for me and I am grateful that I was given the possibility to participate. I got a chance to network with colleagues from other parts of the world, I learnt a lot about the microbiome, and I even got an idea for a study which I hope to carry out soon. The medical experts were very knowledgeable and the group discussions extremely rewarding.

Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, the second meeting and examination were held digitally but this was of course necessary due to the pandemic that the world is experiencing.

I can recommend paediatricians who are interested in learning more about the microbiome to take this course.

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Waceke Kombe, Senior Consultant Paediatrician and Gastroenterologist, Department of Paediatrics. Aga Khan University Hospital of Nairobi, Kenya

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Dr Alexis Mosca, Paediatric Specialist in Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Paediatric Nutrition and Gastroenterology Department, APHP Robert Debré Teaching Hospital, Prof. HUGOT, Paris, France

BioGaia Academy was a unique opportunity for me to meet colleagues from around the world to discuss how we work in paediatric gastroenterology, focusing on the use of probiotics.

The programme was extremely interesting and varied and included both lectures and workshops as well as social events.

I found the workshops especially valuable. The training improved my knowledge of the microbiota and probiotics but I also gained valuable knowledge of clinical practice from colleagues from around the world.