The ISTH Reach-the-World program offers fellowships to members in developing countries and helps to arrange education courses in countries around the world. The ISTH has awarded 21 fellowships to individuals from 12 different countries and sponsored 60 education courses in 35 different countries. To learn more, we interviewed Flora Peyvandi, a Reach-the-World mentor and member of the ISTH Education Committee.

Flora Peyvandi

Flora Peyvandi

ISTH: Why is the Reach-the-World program an important initiative of the ISTH?
Flora Peyvandi: The Reach-the-World (RtW) program is a very important initiative of the ISTH aimed at increasing educational and training capacity in developing countries. Trainees at centers from these countries, having low economical resources, seldom have the possibility to improve their knowledge through being trained abroad at reference centers or by attending international congresses and exchanging information with renowned experts in the field. Therefore, this program is very important for such countries, since it allows very clever and inquisitive people to improve their knowledge.

ISTH: The Reach-the-World Fellowships are awarded to only a few individuals every year, but what is the greater impact?
FP: The greater impact is the amelioration of diagnosis and treatment modalities among healthcare providers coming from developing countries, and consequently the application of their newly acquired knowledge at their own center, becoming themselves trainers to others. This could translate into improved patient care in those regions of the world still lacking a good level of health assistance. Moreover, usually, after their training people granted with the RtW create a sustainable and long-term partnership between their home center and the mentor center. This is also a very good opportunity to the developed world that can enlarge collaborations with centers usually dealing with a great number of patients.

ISTH: What part do the ISTH education courses play in the Reach-the-World program?
FP: The ISTH education courses are very useful to support the clinical and laboratory knowledge of doctors coming from the developing world that lack access to training. On these occasions, these doctors have the possibility to meet international experts in the field while eliminating the need to travel far from home. Also, after attending these courses, many younger attendees wish to spend a learning period abroad, and this leads to applications for RtW Fellowships.

ISTH: Where is the RTW program going in the future?
FP: The ISTH is creating a “Centers of Excellence” program that will provide support to emerging centers in the developing world in order to maintain partnerships with established centers. The ultimate goal is to raise the level of care in developing regions. The Education Committee is working on a capacity building approach that begins with the RtW Fellowship but then connects two institutions—one mentor institution and one emerging institution—to build a partnership between that shares knowledge and enhances training and treatment in the emerging center’s country.

By |June 6, 2015