Twenty-two infectious disease research trainees from around the world converged in Winnipeg on May 11 and 12th as part of the CIHR’s International Infectious Disease & Global Health Training Program.
This program offers PhD students, Post-Doctoral Fellows and Clinical Fellows the opportunity to experience international research first-hand through a global network of training sites. Six trainees from international training sites (Colombia, India and Kenya) came to Winnipeg to join the 16 Manitoba-based trainees for three weeks of academic programs. The program included taking the two week intensive graduate course The Ecology of Infectious Diseases, participating in a two day scientific symposium, and attending three days of learning visits.
"The world needs internationally-trained multidisciplinary researchers who can bring their wealth of knowledge and experience home to improve the health of all peoples," said Dr. Keith Fowke, Principal Investigator. “156 trainees applied for the program, ranked 2nd out of the CIHR’s 40 programs.”
To qualify for the training program, a trainee’s research must be focused on one of three themes: HIV, emerging infectious diseases like H1N1 or Ebola, or global public health.
”We don’t want to pluck the best researchers and bring them to Canada,” said Fowke. “They can complete training in this program without relocating.”
Cisily Meeme, a PhD student from the University of Nairobi, applied for the program after doing HIV research with the University of Manitoba’s Dr. Blake Ball during her Masters degree.
“It’s a good opportunity to train in different countries,” said Meeme. “This is my first time in Winnipeg and there’s quite a history of excellent research here.”
Peter Maturi Mwamba, a PhD candidate from the University of Kenya, agreed.
“The international approach is very important,” he said. “The collaboration of so many institutions allows me to live at home but still work with mentors from around the world.”