ASH is proud to announce Drs. Ritesh Pamnani and Irina Panovska-Stavrides as the 2008 Visiting Trainee Program (VTP) award winners. The program allows hematologists and medical professionals from under-resourced countries to receive valuable clinical laboratory or technological training for up to 12 weeks on a specific topic under the mentorship of an ASH member.
In September, Dr. Pamnani, of Nairobi, Kenya, studied immunophenotyping at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston under the mentorship of Dr. L. Jeffrey Medeiros. “Most of the developed countries have used immunophenotyping as a routine investigation for diagnosis of leukemia for many years, but due to the high costs, we have not been able to perform this type of test in Kenya,” said Dr. Pamnani. “The main objective of my studying immunophenotyping is to establish it as a routine procedure in Africa for all leukemias and lymphomas. I want to be the first one to do this in East Africa.”
In October, Dr. Panovska-Stavrides, of Skopje, Macedonia, studied the determination and utility of the new prognostic factors/laboratory criteria, clinical stratification, and the new treatment modalities for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, NY, under the mentorship of Dr. Nicholas Chiorazzi. “Although in the past several years the overall life expectancy of patients with CLL in Macedonia has slightly improved by introducing new treatments, we still have to improve the prognostic workup and the clinical stratification of CLL patients,” said Dr. Panovska-Stavrides. “The purpose of my participation in the Visiting Trainee Program is to gain a better understanding of new prognostic factors and treatments for CLL.”
The purpose of the VTP program to provide funding support for a focused educational experience for those involved in hematology care. Applicants design their own experience; there are no requirements for the area of study. Successful applicants submit focused topics and provide a clear demonstration of how the techniques or training they learn will be applied once they return to their home institutions. Applicants find and approach mentors, who must be ASH members, by looking through issues of Blood and sessions from annual meeting education programs, both of which are available online. This allows the applicant to become versed in the research that has taken place in their area of study.
Since 2004, more than 20 award winners have benefited from the VTP. Applications for 2009 will be posted on the ASH Web site after January 15, 2009, and must be received at ASH headquarters no later than May 1, 2009. To learn more about applying to the program, please stop by the ASH booth, #637, or contact Clare Kelley, ASH International Programs Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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