ONE Campaign Blog Highlights ASTMH’s Unique Role in the Global Effort to Improve Health

In a reflection on the Annual Meeting, Anupama Datha, a health research assistant at ONE, pinpoints why the meeting is valuable for global health professionals who might not come from a medical or scientific background. Here’s an excerpt (the bold is our emphasis):

I’d always known about the issue, but hearing speakers as widely ranged as Margareth Ndomondo-Sigonda of the African Union’s regulatory arm to Connie Jung of the FDA’s Office of Drug Security discuss regulatory policy and scientific developments with first-hand experience helped me appreciate just how difficult it is to control and fight fake medicines and showed how prevalent the problem is.

The main reason I found these issues – all things I already knew about – so interesting was because I had a chance to hear about them from a new perspective. And that only reinforces the value of multidisciplinary conferences like this one, where people from all parts of the issue get together. Next year’s conference is in New Orleans – hope to see you there!

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Crowd listens to presentation at an Annual Meeting symposium.

A very informative blog post from Claire Barnard on the BioMed Central blog:

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Four Thoughts on the 2013 ASTMH Annual Meeting

Written by Daniel G. Bausch, MD, MPH&TM, ASTMH Councilor, Tulane University Medical Center, New Orleans/NAMRU-6, Lima, Peru.

Another ASTMH Annual Meeting down, by rough count my 19th. Cutting through the fatigue of 5-days of non-stop juggling of symposium attendance, satellite conferences, and impromptu meetings with collaborators and friends, I identify what have come to be the usual mix of thoughts and emotions, which keep me coming back year after year:

  1. Inspiration! Everywhere you turn amazingly smart and productive people are doing great science and public health work! How can I take what I learned from listening to researchers talking about their one-health projects in Kenya or studies in urban slums in Brazil to make the best of my present work in Peru?
  2. Intimidation. Wow, these people all have their act together. Can I compete? Hope so. Keep learning from them.
  3. Keep your eyes on the prize. As successful as we may aspire to be, remember that it’s not supposed to be about us. It’s health research that is supposed to be about, well, health. We need to keep pushing to ensure that our work translates, on the short or long-term as the case may be, to better health for the populations on whose behalf we work.
  4. Despite the challenges, the future is bright! Sure, we’re in a global economic crisis and we face significant challenges with regard to funding, government red-tape, and commitment of our sponsors. Nevertheless, the meeting site is teeming with a combination of wise elders and young protégées, leaders in the making, who can weather this storm and come out stronger on the other side. Don’t worry. Be happy. Keep working.

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Attendees wiz through the hotel lobby to attend sessions at the 62nd Annual Meeting.

Q&A With New ASTMH President Alan Magill

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Alan J. Magill formally assumed the presidency of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) at the Society’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Magill’s research work has focused mainly on malaria and leishmaniasis. He previously served as program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) from 2009 to 2012, where he was closely involved with DARPA’s pandemic influenza initiative and efforts to develop plant-based vaccine production capabilities.

Matthew Davis talked with Magill about an array of challenges facing tropical medicine today, including travel restrictions placed on government scientists, budget cuts to federal research programs, and a rewards system “stacked” against field research. Magill said despite the obstacles, he remains optimistic that recent investments in global health could soon deliver significant success.

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Arbovirologist Charles Calisher Discusses the History of Viruses

In the midst of the various presenter booths during the ASTMH annual meeting, many participants were surprised to see an especially familiar face: Charles Calisher. For 27 years, Calisher worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as chief of the Arbovirus Reference Branch and Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Arboviruses in the Americas. He recently published a new book, “Lifting the Impenetrable Veil: From Yellow Fever to Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever and SARS”— part-memoir, part-detailed history of arbovirology and hemorrhagic fever virology. Attending his 48th annual meeting, Calisher spoke briefly to writer Matthew Davis.

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Mass Drug Administration Gets a Fresh Look as Way to Eliminate Malaria

At ASTMH Annual Meeting, a focus on treating entire populations regardless of symptoms; strategy could be way to fight spread of drug-resistant parasites

Written by Matthew Davis

As the malaria community sets its sights on moving beyond controlling the disease to eliminating it from remaining strongholds, disease experts are taking a fresh look at “mass drug administration” (MDA) as a way to wipe out malaria parasites in areas where transmission has fallen to relatively low levels.

“A strategy that focuses on treating entire populations regardless of symptoms has been used to deal with other parasitic diseases, and it appears to have been deployed to fight malaria in China and the former Soviet republics in the 1970s with good effect,” said Roly Gosling with the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

Gosling, along with ASTMH President-Elect Alan Magill, who oversees malaria eradication strategies at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, chaired a symposium Saturday on the prospects of using MDA as a tool to fight malaria.

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