Young Investigator Award Winner Uses Money to Buy Memberships for Other LMIC Students

Posted 3 February 2022

Donald Severin Kamdem, PhD,  (pictured) a 2021 Young Investigator Award Winner, decided to use part of his prize money to purchase ASTMH memberships for 10 students in LMICs – an effort that grew exponentially when other members learned of the initiative. Through their generous offers, more than 130 LMIC or student LMIC memberships are being made free to applicants in 2022. 

“It has always been and is one of my dreams to help people in need,” said Dr. Kamdem, who is from Cameroon. “Coming also from a LMIC, I do clearly understand the challenges that face students from such countries. I am extremely grateful to the ASTMH as this wouldn’t have been possible without the ASTMH.”

Dr. Kamdem reached out to the Society after receiving one of five 1st-place awards in last year’s Young Investigator Award competition at the 2021 virtual Annual Meeting. He arranged to have 10 LMIC memberships made free to applicants emailing him and asked ASTMH to publicize his offer on Twitter. Interested students needed to be nationals from LMICs and full-time undergraduate or graduate students in the field of global health, international health, tropical medicine or a related discipline. Applicants were asked to send a one-page CV and cover letter highlighting why they wanted to be an ASTMH member and how it would positively impact their career. He received 26 applications from 10 different countries.


Help Spread the Word: Free LMIC Memberships Available

Are you a citizen/national of an LMIC interested in joining ASTMH? Or do you know someone from an LMIC who would like to join ASTMH? Memberships are available free to professionals, full-time undergraduate or graduate students in the field of global health, international health, tropical medicine or a related disciplines. Please contact Deusdedith Ishengoma through private message on his Twitter account, @deusishe.
Other members on Twitter saw what Dr. Kamdem was doing and decided to join in with additional donations. Deusdedith Ishengoma, BVM, MVM, PhD, the Society’s 2019 Alan J. Magill Fellowship Recipient, was among them. He also volunteered to manage the donations from others and the applications from LMIC students and researchers interested in becoming ASTMH members. More than 130 memberships were made available by 18 different donors.

LMIC nationals and anyone wishing to donate to more free memberships are encouraged to contact Dr. Ishengoma by email, [email protected], or through his Twitter account, @deusishe. Please send him a direct message if you are interested. Otherwise, spread the word. Only a small share of these free LMIC memberships have been claimed.

Dr. Ishengoma, of the NIMR-TANGA Center in Tanzania, said he is motivated by the comments he receives from the LMIC applicants. He said one young researcher told him that joining ASTMH will help with career advancement and open up a world of endless opportunities, unparalleled collaboration, networking and shared experiences. 

For Dr. Kamdem, entering and winning the Young Investigators Award competition has been a great benefit. “I was delighted to be one of the ASTMH YIA awardees in 2021. This award has positively impacted my career in several ways. It has clearly been a ‘heavy stone’ in my CV and an immense pleasure to see my work appreciated by a panel of experts in the field.”