Fogarty HATTP and African Research Society Symposium 10 October 2023

30 Oct 2023
30 Oct 2023
Fogarty HATTP and ARS presenters and some of the attendees
Fogarty HATTP and ARS presenters and some of the attendees

A symposium jointly organized by the UCT Health Sciences’ Students African Research Society (ARS) and the Fogarty HATTP program was held on Tuesday 10th October 2023 in the Neuroscience Institute Auditorium at Groote Schuur Hospital. The ARS President, Yanelisa Pulani and her committee assisted in the planning and advertising of the event.

The Symposium was planned as an interactive discussion about the journey from a Medicine qualification to research opportunities.

Professor Graeme Meintjes, the Principal Investigator of the Fogarty HATTP program, gave an overview of the UCT Fogarty program and this was followed by presentations from 3 clinician researchers who either completed their PhDs through the Fogarty program or had previously attended the Fogarty Health Sciences Students meetings while students:

Dr Ashar Dhana:

Completed his PhD in March 2023 and is currently a dermatologist and researcher in the Division of Dermatology at Groote Schuur Hospital and UCT

Dr Yoliswa Msomi:

Attended the Fogarty Health Sciences Students meetings in 2018 and 2019, qualifying with her MBChB in 2019. In 2022, she joined the NewStrat TB trial as a research medical officer and aspires to be a clinical academic.

Dr Simon Mendelsohn:

Graduated with his PhD in December 2022 and is currently a medical research officer in the South African TB Vaccine Initiative in the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT. He previously worked at Doctors Without Borders.

All the presenters gave their intriguing stories of their journeys from student days, followed in some cases by study and work overseas and completion of courses which then lead to clinical research positions. After each presentation, Professor Meintjes and Danika Govender from ARS asked further questions and then the floor was opened to questions from the audience consisting of Fogarty Fellows and Health Sciences students across the clinical years.

We were fortunate that we were able to invite Professor Richard Chaisson, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and International Health at Johns Hopkins University, to present a talk on Advances in shortening of TB treatment as he was in Cape Town to present the annual Bernard Pimstone lecture at the Department of Medicine Annual Research Symposium held over the following 2 days. Professor Chaisson is also a co-investigator on the Fogarty program.

The meeting ended with networking and further discussion over coffee.