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HIVLink

Bringing together care and research in service to families in need

Summer 2013



New York State International Training and Research Program
(NYS-ITRP) Reunion Event in Ukraine

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Alumni of the NYS-ITRP in Kiev


As part of its mission to build the capacity of HIV and infectious disease research throughout Eastern Europe, the New York State International Training and Research Program (NYS-ITRP) (Jack DeHovitz, PI) held a major conference in Kiev, Ukraine from June 20-21, 2013. The event commemorated the 20th anniversary of NYS-ITRP by bringing together trainee alumni, in-country collaborators, and associated US faculty. The assembled guests shared their past accomplishments, current projects, and future research interests. In addition, the conference strengthened collaborations and mentorship relationships between alumni and US faculty for public health program implementation, research, and policy.

The event was attended by over seventy participants from past and current target countries, including representatives from the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Ukraine, Hungary and Armenia. Throughout two very full days of panels and presentations, participants had the chance to hear from US and in-country thought-leaders in infectious disease treatment, care, and research. A broad range of topics was addressed including research in injecting drug users, models for adherence, the epidemiology of food borne infections, and the role of implementation science in controlling HIV and hepatitis C infection. Audience participation was lively and included a poster session highlighting research from the region. Participants also had the chance to discuss the different approaches to infectious disease research and programmatic models for treatment, care and prevention that have been implemented in their home countries.

Dr. DeHovitz also offered participants a reflection on the many accomplishments of NYS-ITRP. Throughout its 20-year history, NYS-ITRP experienced impressive growth throughout the region by forming collaborations in new countries such as Ukraine and Kazakhstan while supporting alumni from its original focus countries. Over one hundred seventy trainees have received either long-term or short-term training in the US through NYS-ITRP while more the six thousand health care professionals receiving training via in-country workshops and training sessions. NYS-ITRP alumni have produced over seven hundred book and journal articles. Many alumni now hold leadership positions in their ministries of health, schools of public health, and research institutions and they have helped to shape policies for the prevention and treatment of HIV and infectious disease in Eastern Europe. We thank our all of our participants and faculty for an energizing meeting. NYS-ITRP will continue to support alumni accomplishments and recruit new students for this critical research training program.

Development of the International School of Public Health in Georgia

The establishment of the International School of Public Health at Tbilisi State Medical University (TSMU) in the Republic of Georgia in 2007 represented a significant milestone in the history of the NYS-ITRP. Over the past decade, a variety of Fogarty supported (NYS-ITRP, Emory AITRP/GID) and other programs have supported MPH or MS training in the US. This provided the critical mass to begin the development of an MPH-level public health education program in Georgia. This collaboration resulted in the signing of an MOU in May, 2009 (in the presence of the deputy ministers of Health and Education as well as the Rector of TSMU) between the NYS-ITRP and TSMU. The first trainees from this collaboration initiated their studies in the US in June, 2009 and the program has now graduated a total of 7 MPH graduates who have received joint training through this program. Former NYS-ITRP trainees, Maia Butsashvili, MD and George Kamkamidze, MD, helped to develop the joint MPH program at TSMU and are now key faculty.

Be sure to watch a new video on the collaboration between the SUNY campuses at Downstate and Albany and the NYS Department of Health on the 20-year project, sponsored by the Fogarty International Center, to enhance AIDS research and training in Central and Eastern Europe.

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