Professor Albert Hofman, NIHES Science Director
“The Erasmus Summer Programme focuses on key principles and methods of quantitative medical research. Open to all students and health professionals, it provides essential updates in a range of applied medical and healthcare disciplines.
The first week provides introductory and advanced courses, the second week focuses on methodology courses and the third week on advanced courses. It is possible to enrol for a single course, single courses in a discipline or to mix and match courses from different disciplines in order to design your own individual programme.
From the academic world, industry, and the public sector we expect some 600 participants from fifty countries around the globe.
Each year, it is exciting to see so many young and talented health professionals embarking on an international career as a researcher, executive or advisor in the health sciences. Health matters, for patients and populations. At NIHES, we are proud to help you realize your high ambitions and look forward to welcoming you this summer.”
Wageningen University graduate Josine Kuiper holds a master’s degree in Nutritional and Public Health Epidemiology. She is a researcher at the PHARMO Institute for Drug Outcomes Research, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
“We perform research on patient-centric data to improve the use, quality and cost-effectiveness of pharmaceuticals ” says Josine. ”My director gave me the opportunity to take the NIHES Pharmaco-epidemiology course, which was also recommended by other colleagues. So that’s why I came here. I also took the Practice of Epidemiologic Data Analysis course this week so as to make the most of my time. I like to keep up with the current knowledge. It’s so refreshing to learn from people who know the tricks of the trade. And they are so good at sharing their practical experience. Yes I guess I’ve already become a lifelong learner!”
Sixth year medical student Yuchen Wang is one of the group of nine talented students from prestigious Peking University Medical College who participated in this year’s summer programme.
“Our college traditionally has strong ties with North America, and we are the first group ever to come to Europe. We followed many courses for two weeks, like epidemiology, and spent the third week in a clinical orientation programme in Erasmus MC. The courses are research-oriented, we noted, but really valuable for our future careers. We’ve had clinical orientation in our own hospital for 18 months already, so it’s refreshing to look around here. I was in several departments in Erasmus, but I’d like to single out the Virology department. It’s very, very strong compared to all other hospitals, terrific. But let’s not forget surgery, microbiology, and infectious diseases, for example. They all have their different strengths and styles.”
German-born Ursula Rochau trained as a medical doctor, won a scholarship at Tuft University, Boston, USA; and there turned to medical decision-making. Dr. Rochau is now a postdoc at UMIT, the health & life sciences university, Hall in Tyrol, Austria and Oncotyrol – Center for Personalized Cancer Medicine.
“My interest is in decision-analytic modeling in cancer with a focus on chronic myeloid leukemia and here in Rotterdam I’m taking the survival course this week. The participants are from different fields, so we get interesting discussions. What I especially like, apart from the great teachers, is the combination of lectures in the morning and practical computer work in the afternoons. I’m sure it will help me analyze the data of our own projects.
“I also coordinate the winter school programme at UMIT, led by professors Siebert and Hofman ,” says Dr. Rochau. “We will go on developing courses for our own students within the framework of our continuous education programmes.”
Dr. Grace Kiringa from the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) holds a medical degree as well as a master’s degree in clinical trials research. Dr. Kiringa is the study coordinator and co-investigator of TB-vaccine trials.
“We collaborate with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. TB is a great health problem in parts of Kenya, also because the high prevalence of HIV. We would like to find out if the new TB-vaccine is more effective at preventing TB.” Dr. Kiringa took ESP epidemiology courses last year and liked it so much that she came back.
“There are many things I like about the Erasmus Summer Programme,” she says, “but the strongest point is the high quality of the faculty. The lecturers and professors are very experienced, and they know how to communicate. This year I focus more on statistics; what I learn here will help me in analyzing data and writing articles, and I will share the knowledge with my colleagues.”
Former linguist-journalist-diplomat Mr. Jikuan Sun is Director of the Office of International Cooperation, Peking Union Medical College (PUMC). Together with Dr. Yang Ping, officer in charge of the medical education program at PUMC, he arranged for some ten excellent medical students from PUMC to take ESP courses this year.
“We were much helped by the Dutch embassy, for that matter’, he says. “You see, as our country’s most prestigious medical college, we are dedicated to set a beachhead in Europe. We would like to broaden the clinical view of our students. In fact they will take clinical rotations in Erasmus MC in the third week. So far we’ve established international contacts mainly in the USA, with Johns Hopkins and Harvard for example. This is not surprising as PUMC in the early 20th century was founded with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation. But now we’re turning to Europe to get a new perspective. The genesis of our partnership with NIHES lies in a joint symposium organized in 2010. And we would like it to continue, even though we intend to spread our wings further into Europe.”
ERAWEB-participant Nadja Bascausevic is taking ESP courses before embarking on a four-month research project at the Erasmus MC department of Gynecology & Obstetrics. Nadja is a final-year medical student at the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina.
“I like the atmosphere here, “she says, “The organization is perfect, you get excellent information, quick feedback, and all the other students are very helpful in practical matters. In particular I like the interactivity of the lectures. And last but not least, all teachers are very expert and know how to present the material. I take two courses each week; this week Public Health Research as well as Markers and Prognostic Research. I just heard about the existence of the Erasmus Winter programme; that’s something to keep in mind.”
On Thursday, August 16, participants in the Erasmus Summer Programme Fellowships, together with students in the EU-funded Erasmus-Western Balkans mobility programme (ERAWEB), and students from Brazil joined the harbour tour on the Tapasboat.
A key part of the Erasmus Summer Programme is played by the Fellowships: three suites of courses that provide top-level instruction in clinical research training, public health research, and genetic epidemiology. Each Fellowship is a stimulating challenge for talented young scientists who seek leading careers in scientific research.
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Veterinarian-trained Shahrzad Motaghi, DVM, has developed a great interest in epidemiology. She is a researcher in the Research Center for Modeling in Health at Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Iran.
“I’m taking this course because I want to continue my career in epidemiology – and friends who had taken ESP courses earlier had recommended it. And I must say, it surpasses all my expectations. I’m thinking of taking other courses abroad: I love the Netherlands, it’s a beautiful country and the people are kind, so why not here?”
Dr. Raphael Guimarães is an adjunct professor in the Public Health Institute at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Interested in both environmental/occupational health and epidemiology, he is currently involved in a lot of studies. These include a survey of people exposed to chemical substances, another one of people exposed to organochlorine pesticides, as well as estimates of attributable risk factors for cancer and of mortality time trends for the main cancers in Brazil.
“Our group has no hard epidemiologists, so I came here to learn about it,” Dr. Guimarães says. “I was proud to be selected as an ESP fellow – and with the skills I’m taking back we can strengthen our research. This is a great opportunity because the most respected experts in their fields are teaching here.”