November 22, 2013 · By Jaclyn Schiff · No Comments
Patrick Creehan, MD, a 15-year member of ASTMH
passed away Tuesday, August 13th, at his home in Fair Oaks, California, surrounded by family. He was 71 years old.
Born in 1941, in Virginia to mother Mary Rita Creehan and Edward Patrick Creehan, Patrick spent much of his youth in San Mateo, California. He attended Serra High School, followed by Santa Clara University, UCSF for medical school, and the University of Michigan for his residency in dermatology. Patrick was also a flight surgeon in the Navy, stationed in Antarctica.
October 11, 2013 · By Jaclyn Schiff · No Comments
Thank you to John Barnwell, Beatie Divine, Laurence Slutsker, Rick Steketee and Pete Zimmerman for contributing information.
The Society mourns the loss of Bill Collins, a beloved ASTMH member since 1961 who previously served as an editor of the ASTMH newsletter. Collins retired from the CDC this past July where he studied malaria for more than two-thirds of his life.
After finishing his PhD in entomology fromRutgers University in 1954, he was
drafted into the US Army and spent two years at the US Army Biological
Warfare laboratories at Fort Detrick. While stationed there, he met Janet Johnson, and they were married in July of 1956. He later joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Columbia, SC. Reflecting on that early part of his career, Collins once said, "I
received a phone
In 1973, the CDC hired Collins as part of a major research program developed to study human and monkey malaria parasites. Collins then became part of the new malaria branch at CDC, where he spent the next four decades working with malaria, mosquitoes, and monkeys. Collins called his work "an ongoing discovery." His respect and awe for the organism he studied was apparent. He called their structure "beautiful." Collins did research with many species of malaria parasites, particularly Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, and P. simium. "We learn from all the parasites," he said. The scientific community recognized Collins' intensive work in this field naming a subspecies for him, Plasmodium vivax collinsi. He also has a new species of a great ape malaria parasite named after him, Plasmodium billcollinsi.
Throughout the years, Collins stacked up plenty of memories and milestones. He authored more than 450 scientific publications. In addition, his work achievements were recognized through multiple prestigious awards, including the Joseph Augustin LePrince Medal from the ASTMH (1985), the William C. Watson, Jr. Medal of Excellence from CDC (2001), and the Society's Harry Hoogstraal Medal (2009), which recognizes lifelong service to medical entomology. He was awarded in 2012 the HENRIQUE ARAGÃO Medal at the XVIII International Congress of Tropical Medicine and Malaria.
Of his late colleague, ASTMH member Larry Slutsker, MD, MPH, director, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, CDC, said, "Bill Collins is a consummate scientist, and his career has been an inspiration to those working in malaria. His decades-long joy in and commitment to his work, marked by extraordinary enthusiasm, curiosity, and scientific rigor, have brought him richly deserved international recognition as one of the world’s leading malaria parasite biologists. His excellence has been matched with rare humility and a consistent desire to share his science with others to achieve his overriding goal—an end to malaria."
Former ASTMH Councilor Richard W. Steketee MD, MPH, FASTMH, science director, Malaria Control Program and MACEPA, PATH, said Collins was a "legendary malaria parasite biologist and entomologist" who taught many US-based malaria researchers "pretty much everything we know about the malaria parasite." According to Steketee, Collins' study of malaria has been "nothing short of remarkable," noting his involvement in the trials of malaria infections as treatment for neurosyphilis to developing the non-human primate models for malaria vaccine studies.
Despite his outsized contributions to the field, Collins said co-workers and friends helped him derive some of the greatest meaning in his work. Reflecting on his career, Collins once said, "The most memorable event was when I completed my 50 years with the government and audio-visual people made a video of my accomplishments. However, the most important and favorite memories are of coworkers and friends. I looked upon all of them as family, and anyone who has seen my office knows that my office wall is covered with collages of pictures of these current and former coworkers. I miss them all."
Collins is survived by his wife Janet, his daughter Sheila, son Bill, daughter-in-law Erin, and grandchildren Mackenzie and Chloe.
Photos from top right: Bill Collins in his signature red suspenders; Dr. McWilson Warren (left, world recognized expert on malaria, both of humans and of monkeys) Bill Collins (right); A younger Collins at one of the old Chamblee buildings, Building 16.
September 17, 2013 · By Jaclyn Schiff · No Comments
ASTMH recently submitted a letter to the editor responding to a New York Times article about the ongoing effects of federal budget cuts. The full text of the letter appears below.
To the editor:
"U.S. Workers Are Grounded by Deep Cuts" (August 18, 2013) hits on a federal budget cut that like flood or fire insurance for your home, you don’t know what you don’t have until you need it.
Today’s traveler represents a wide swath of the population. We often forget that U.S. servicemen and women are also those travelers. Deployments to areas of conflict typically mean locations with extreme poverty. Closely linked to poverty is disease - and some pretty nasty, unsolved ones (so far). Bugs that sting, bite, scratch or poke do not care who you are. You are a handy meal; you are fast food.
International scientific conferences, like ASTMH's Annual Meeting, are human incubators for ideas. For the highly-trained scientists at the NIH, CDC, Army and Navy who work on tropical diseases, these face-to-face interactions spur U.S. led global innovation and partnerships that will ultimately protect all of us.
Written and submitted by:
Karen A. Goraleski
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
September 15, 2013 · By Jaclyn Schiff · No Comments
The Society, with generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is looking forward to bringing 44 Travel Award winners to the 2013 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.
These awards – offered to qualified students, early career investigators and scientists – will facilitate participation for those who might not otherwise be able to attend. Selected recipients enhance the overall scientific quality and learning potential and present abstracts at the meeting.
ASTMH began these “Travel Awards” in 1991 and over time with the addition of Gates Foundation funding, a total of 478 promising early career investigators (not including the 2013 recipients) have been able to attend and participate in the Annual Meeting.
The Society is grateful to Travel Award Committee Chair Nirbhay Kumar, PhD, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and the rest of the committee for their outstanding work this year.
The following individuals have been selected this year:
Poom Adisakwattana, Mahidol University
Bahita Ashenafi Assefa, Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute
Pebanne Atemba, University of Yaounde
Mary Auma, St. Mary's Hospital Lacor/Gulu University
Kodjo Ayi, McLaughlin-Rotman Centre-TMDT
Geral Baldeviano, Naval Medical Research Unit No. Six
Sarah-Blythe Ballard, Johns Hopkins University
Kayla Barnes, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Douadi Benacer, University of Malaya
Elizabeth Brickley, University of Cambridge/NIH
Awa Bineta Deme, Hospital Aristide le Dantec
Georges Diatta, Institut de Recherche Pour Le Developement
Titus Divala, Blantyre Malaria Project
Adriana Echazu, Instituto de Investigaciones En Enfermedades Tropicales
Clement Elanga N'Dille, Institut de Recherche Pour Le Developpement
Robyn Elphinstone, University of Toronto
Thanyalak Fansiri, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences
Isaac Chun-Hai Fung, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Giovan Gomez, Universidad de Antioquia
Maria Isabel Hoshi, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia
Nona Jiang, University of Virginia
Mario Jiz, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
Stephen Kinara, Infectious Diseases Research Collaboration
Worachet Kuntawunginn, Armed Force Research Institutes of Medical Sciences
Kofi Kwofie, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research
Nancy Matowo, Ifakara Health Institute/London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Clement Meseko, National Veterinary Research Institute
Belinda Morahan, Monash University
Agnes Nanyonjo, Karolinska Institutet and Malaria Consortium-Uganda
Birgit Nikolay, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Melissa Nolan, Baylor College of Medicine
Jovvian Parakkal, NIH-ICER-NIRT
David Pigott, University of Oxford
Anuradha Rajamanickam, NIH-ICER-NIRT
Wanlapa Roobsoong, Mahidol University
Joan Simam, KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Program
Michael Smout, James Cook University
Wesley Solomon, Morehouse School Of Medicine
Isaac Ssewanyana, Infectious Diseases Research Collaboration
Hyacinthe Toe, Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme
Lindsey Turnbull, University of Notre Dame
Timothy William, Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Nana Wilson, Morehouse School of Medicine
Guang Xu, University of Texas Medical Branch.
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September 11, 2013 · By Jaclyn Schiff · No Comments
The following obituary was submitted by ASTMH members Stephanie
James, PhD, and Michael Gottlieb, PhD, both of the Foundation for NIH.
Many ASTMH members will remember Dr. Jean Hickman, former Scientific
Review Administrator for the NIH Tropical Medicine and Parasitology
(TMP) study sections, who passed away on August 26, 2013.
[Read more →]
September 06, 2013 · By Jaclyn Schiff · No Comments
Jacob Frenkel, MD, PhD, passed away recently at his home in Santa Fe with his family present.
Dr. Frenkel received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of California in San Francisco. A research pathologist, he was a professor emeritus at the University of Kansas and an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico. Nationally and internationally known for his research on various infectious disease, he received numerous awards and served as president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1998.
"Jack Frenkel was a master pathologist whose keen observational skills were matched by his ability to analyze and interpret new concepts," said ASTMH President Dave Walker, MD. "We shared many stimulating discussions at ASTMH meetings when I was a young physician-scientist and valued his insight."
Dr. Frenkel was a Fulbright professor in Mexico and a Leopoldina professor at the National Academy of Science in Germany where he received a Humboldt Award for senior US scientists. Much of his research was in South America, where he was a visiting professor in Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Brazil.
Dr. Frenkel served in the Army in World War and was a captain in the US Public Health Service Reserves until his retirement.
He is survived by is wife of 59 years, Rebecca, children Lisa Frenkel, MD, Linda Bedell, Carl Frenkel and six wonderful grandchildren. At Dr. Frenkel's request there will be no public services.
The family thanks Dr. Louise Able and PMS Hospice for their care and support.
August 14, 2013 · By Jaclyn Schiff · No Comments
ASTMH members are the best and the brightest in their field. Our
member interviews highlight our diverse and growing membership. To read
other member profiles, click here.
As we inch closer to the Annual Meeting, we're speaking with different subgroup members to highlight the distinct scientific talent that comes together under the ASTMH umbrella. This interview is with Laura C. Harrington, PhD, an active member of the American Committee of Medical Entomology (ACME). Harrington, who received her doctoral degree in entomology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, joined the Cornell faculty in 2001 and was promoted to full professor in 2012. Her research focuses broadly on the biology, ecology, and behavior of disease vectors, global health, and epidemiology, and she's received funding from NIH, NSF/NOAA, CDC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Recognized as an outstanding teacher and revered mentor, Harrington teaches courses in medical entomology/epidemiology and global health, including a course on the history of human disease and its impact on human culture, titled, "Plagues and People."
1) You’ve been renewing your ASTMH membership for 13 years (thank you). What are the greatest benefits of being a member of the Society?
Among the most important benefits of membership is the opportunity to attend and participate in the Annual Meeting. ASTMH is different from the other societies that I belong to. There is a deep commitment to education, training, and promoting the science that we do. I feel energized after attending the Annual Meeting and inspired by my interactions with colleagues and trainees.
2) You have a unique perspective on tropical medicine having contracted dengue and malaria while living abroad. What did you learn as a patient that you’ve brought to your research?
Knowing what it feels like to be ill with dengue and malaria gives me a deep appreciation for the experience of patients. I’ve seen the impact dengue and malaria can have on entire communities. It gives me a greater sense of motivation in my research. When I teach my students, I can share my personal experience. I tell them what it felt like, how it was diagnosed, and how it was treated.
3) We’re seeing more sessions at the Annual Meeting that involve veterinarians. How do you see the field of veterinary entomology evolving and how can ASTMH continue to attract involvement those from colleagues?
Veterinary medicine was one of the first fields to embrace the concept of “One Health” – essentially that there is a connection between human and animal health and environmental health. A broad understanding of disease ecology, whether it impacts humans or animals will be critical for advancing the pace of research discoveries and prevention in emerging infectious diseases and tropical medicine. The Society can continue to attract veterinarians by offering symposia and other opportunities for cross-cutting discussions of One Health.
4) Non-scientists often think of tropical medicine as relevant to diseases that are common in developing countries – not in the West. In our advocacy efforts, the Society tries to show that global health issues have no regard for borders. How can we better underscore this point when talking to policy makers and others who are not very familiar with global health?
The world has become a global community for people and pathogens. We are not immune from entry of exotic tropical pathogens within our borders. This will only become more important with climate change and increasing global movement of people, animals, and pathogens. I believe that improving health equity for all global citizens can only benefit us all.
5) As a researcher whose teaching and mentorship skills have been recognized through awards and committee appointments, what advice do you have for colleagues in the Society about advising the next generation of Trop Med scientists?
The next generation will need to be successful in a different scientific and political environment than we experienced. They will require the ability to collaborate with large teams and organize diverse groups effectively. For this reason they will need even more breadth in their knowledge and expertise than we gained in our training. They will need strong communication skills. They will need to be adaptable and willing to learning new skills as tropical medicine evolves and they will need to pursue more diverse funding opportunities as researchers. Most of all, as mentors, we need to foster their sense of creativity and innovation.
6) In addition to the Annual Meeting, how can the Society evolve its approach to knowledge sharing and scientific collaboration?
One area where the Society can lead is by fostering the formation of networks and collaborations among regional scientists. One example is South and Central America, where tropical diseases research training opportunities are outstanding in some countries, yet non-existent in others. I see this despite striking commonalities in the health problems that need to be solved. It makes more sense for students to learn from others in the same region rather than coming to the US for training, especially for practical field-based investigations.
In my opinion, the Society could play a significant role in making connections between trainees and trainers as well as fostering a community of learning and idea sharing among researchers in these regions. I also sense a need for such region-wide networks in Africa.
7) Time for a fun question. You get the opportunity to go back in time. You can either have a conversation with any scientist who has ever lived OR observe a moment of scientific history. What would you choose and why?
Definitely, it would be observing a defining moment in tropical medicine. I would love to have watched the work of Ronald Ross unfold, feeding mosquitoes on his cages of birds and looking over his shoulder into the microscope as he made dissections and worked out the life history of malaria. Or I could sit at the table in Cuba as the Yellow Fever Commission devised their experimental plan.
August 12, 2013 · By Jaclyn Schiff · No Comments
The following review was graciously provided by ASTMH member Professor Tim Inglis, MD, DTM&H, PhD, FRCP, ARCPA, of School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Western Australia.
Remember the early Palm Pilot? Portable computing has come a long way in two decades. A drawer full of obsolete USB connector cables tells the tale of the journey to my current iPad mini, which now goes wherever work takes me. My medical app collection has stabilised around several functions where the iPad rules (a) point-of-care therapeutic data, (b) key reference texts, (c) current medical literature, (d) note taking, and (e) presentation tools.
The only journal-specific app to survive my personal utility test is the AJTMH app, and the reason is the value it adds to my current clinical practise. Here's how:
Frequent update anytime, anywhere. I can check out relevant content during flights into remote overseas locations. When I arrive, the app refreshes and lets me know if there are new studies and reviews -- a useful antidote to the frustration of local flight delays.
Searchable archive of published articles. In remote part of our region, the app puts a succinct tropical medicine library in my hands. Abstracts remain accessible even when there is no Internet coverage. At the other end of the technological spectrum, I used the app to cross-check against observations reported by presenters during sessions in an international congress earlier this year.
Recent tropical medicine research presentation. With a small VGA adapter, I can show the app to colleagues in journal clubs, other professional education meetings and my research group.
Networking. The share options make direct communication of key papers very easy. The app informs my use of social media to extend teaching reach to the Facebook generation.
I find the app has an obvious health education role in resource-limited settings in the tropics where iPad or iPhone uptake is surprisingly high. The Society has made a great start by making this app widely available, and will be able to add value by incorporating highlights of specialist meetings, practice guidelines and other capability-building activities.
Apps generally survive or fail on a combination of how frequently their content refreshes and how useful that content is. While the AJTMH app avoids any claim to being a one-stop shop, it is sufficiently useful for me to check at least weekly for new material and daily when working in the tropics. It will be fascinating to see how this app develops as it gains additional functions.
July 11, 2013 · By Jaclyn Schiff · No Comments
This month, we chat with Christina Polyak, MD, MPH, an active member of the Society's Committee on Global Health (ACGH). In addition to her work at WRAIR, she is also a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Allergy and Infectious Diseases with the University of Washington. After completing her fellowship in infectious diseases last year, Dr. Polyak joined MHRP where she is responsible for developing and supervising clinical trials related to HIV and HIV-related co-infections, particularly malaria and TB. Polyak is based in Kenya and has been living there since 2011.
1) We appreciate that you’ve been a member of ASTMH since 1999. What drives you to be an active member in the workings of the Society?
Becoming a member of ASTMH has helped develop my career through opportunities including, travel awards, fellowships and mentoring. I hope to continue this tradition by helping others who are starting their tropical medicine careers. Also, the ASTMH Committee on Global Health (ACGH) aims to create exciting collaborative opportunities between ASTMH members and those interested in learning more about global health. I enjoy the collaborative spirit of the ASTMH team and welcome the occasion to be involved as we chart a path forward.
2) You were active in the Society’s efforts to add career development features to the 2012 Annual Meeting. What more can the Society do to help people who are early in their tropical medicine careers?
ASTMH should continue to support training and education with travel grants and fellowships. Annual Meeting registration fees should remain reasonable for trainees so they can attend and link with experts. Specifically, the ACGH will continue to hold symposiums at the Annual Meeting dedicated to education and career development for those interested. This year, the ACGH has a speed-networking event planned – stayed tuned for more details.
3) Based on your own experiences, what three pieces of advice would you give young researchers hoping to take a similar career path?
First, get into the field. If at all possible, spend time in different professional environments and make a point of understanding the challenges involved with working in less well-resourced settings. Second, diversify. My heart was set on malaria research; now my research focuses on HIV and co-infections, such as malaria. The experience itself means a lot and sometimes you have to be willing to work outside your scope to get the skills and mentorship you need to get started. Finally, be proactive and seek out opportunities instead of waiting for them to come to you. If you want to meet someone and are interested in their work, email them and introduce yourself. Take an active approach in your own development since ultimately, your career is your own responsibility.
4) Society members place a high value on making connections at the Annual Meeting. Due to the growth in meeting attendance, it is challenging to attend the best sessions, meet with colleagues and find time to foster those vital new connections over an already busy few days. What can the Society do to help attendees make new and possibly lasting relationships?
The Annual Meeting is a whirlwind for sure -- but a fun one. Encouraging interaction at sessions and social events within the meeting can result in a less intimidating environment. The opening night reception is always a success and allows everyone time to see colleagues, meet new people and mingle amongst exhibits.
5) The field of tropical medicine draws from a wide range of health, science and community professionals. How can ASTMH continue to ensure this rich diversity is both represented and active in the Society and its volunteer leadership?
ASTMH benefits from teamwork. The Society needs to emphasize the opportunity to be a part of a multi-disciplinary team and meet colleagues from various backgrounds. Engaging early career professionals as well as seasoned experts allows those of us starting our careers to learn from the best.
July 08, 2013 · By Jaclyn Schiff · No Comments
This is guest post from Gillian Buckley, MPH, PhD, staff at the Institute of Medicine’s Board on Global Health, where she recently served as study director for the consensus committee report, Countering the Problem of Falsified and Substandard Drugs. ASTMH Member Mary Wilson, MD, FASTMH, Harvard School of Public Health, served on the report's committee.
Medicines containing little or no
active ingredient, or worse, toxic ingredients, can appear identical to quality
drugs. Regulation by an independent
agency aims to protect the drug supply, but supervising multinational medicine
supply chains overwhelms even the best-funded regulatory authorities. Criminals
and unscrupulous manufacturers exploit weaknesses in the regulatory system,
where, especially in poor countries, they have ushered in a “golden age for bad drugs” 1.
A recent Institute of Medicine consensus
committee report discussed the problem of falsified and substandard medicines. The report identified a few, relatively simple
steps to improve medicines retail and protect consumers in the low- and
middle-income countries that withstand the worst of world’s fake medicine trade
In most developing countries, there
are few licensed drug stores outside of cities. Street vendors and other
shopkeepers fill the void, but they have no training in the proper storage or
handling of medicines, let alone patient counseling. Many shopkeepers approach
selling medicines as they would any other retail job and are disinclined to let
a potential customer leave the store without closing a sale. They are also responsible
for buying from the corrupt drug wholesale market, a job that far exceeds their
qualifications. Although they work in
clear violation of pharmacy practice laws, regulators can be reluctant to close
such shops, as that would remove from many communities their only medicine
Governments cannot fix this problem
alone, but evidence suggests that the private sector will invest in drug retail
when the business environment is favorable. In Tanzania, the Ministry of Health
used a combination of training, incentives, and demand creation to drive
changes in drug retail with the Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlets program 4. Similarly, drug
store franchises, such as West Africa’s CareShop, appeal to motivated drug
sellers by guaranteeing supply and direct delivery of the shop’s inventory;
their inventory is better quality because a qualified buyer oversees the
wholesale purchases 5. Governments can
support the private sector in these programs. They can help create demand for better retail, for example, or offer
low-interest business improvement loans 6.
Training of drug shopkeepers is an
important piece of most retail improvement programs. Training and task shifting
(the delegating of responsibilities to less specialized workers) can do much to
alleviate the shortage of community pharmacists in developing countries. The report
recommended that the WHO and FIP work with national pharmacy councils to
promote task shifting by identifying the skills and minimum training necessary
to work in medicines retail. Retaining staff in underserved posts can be
difficult, but governments can use tax breaks, subsidized housing, and other
incentives to reward service in rural areas and slums.
Out of convenience and habit,
people buy medicines at the shops closest to their homes. A series of simple changes to drug retail could
vastly improve the medicines stock and patient counseling at these shops. Governments in low- and middle-income
countries can take manageable steps to improve retail, and to give their
citizens a trustworthy alternative to the medicines street market.
1. The Economist. Bad medicine. October 13, 2012.
2. IOM. Countering the
Problem of Falsified and Substandard Drugs. Washington, DC: The National
Academies Press; 2013.
3. Goodman C, Kachur SP, Abdulla S, Bloland P, Mills A. Drug
shop regulation and malaria treatment in Tanzania—why do shops break the rules,
and does it matter? Health Policy and
Planning. November 1, 2007 2007;22(6):393-403.
4. MSH. TANZANIA:
Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlets—Duka la Dawa Muhimu. 2005.
5. Segrè J, Tran J. What
worls: CareShop Ghana. World Resources Institute;2008.
6. MSH. Managing
access to medicines and health technologies Arlington, VA: Management
Sciences for Health, Inc.;2012.
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