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The Far-reaching Impact of the ISN Emerging Leaders Program

ISN-ELP 1 cohort member Dr. Robert Kalyesubula (center) holds an informal discussion with healthcare staff at PGIMER

By Dr. Vivek Kumar, ISN-ELP 1 cohort member

The ISN’s Emerging Leaders Program selected fourteen professionals from around the world to form its inaugural cohort in 2020.

Although no physical meetings took place due to COVID-19-related restrictions, the cohort members met regularly online. Sharing ideas, collaborating and mentoring through the ELP program was a phenomenal experience. The diverse background and expertise of cohort members were enriching for all involved.

One of the ISN-ELP 1 cohort members, Dr. Robert Kalyesubula, from Uganda, recently presented at the ISN Frontiers meeting ‘Infections and the Kidneys’ in India. My colleagues and I, at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), in Chandigarh, India, took advantage of this opportunity and invited Dr. Kalyesubula to our center.

Dr. Kalyesubula’s visit had a great impact on our team. He delivered a lecture detailing his work on validating estimating glomerular filtration rate equations in African populations. In addition, he attended inter-departmental academic sessions, visited the emergency and in-patient care areas, and joined clinical discussions on ward rounds.

The open, candid discussions fellows and faculty members were able to enjoy with Dr. Kalyesubula were a highlight of his visit. His professional journey, active efforts towards advocacy and determination to provide kidney care in underprivileged areas in Uganda were deeply inspiring.

Dr. Arun Prabhahar, a nephrology fellow at PGIMER, described his conversations with Dr. Kalyesubula as ‘A real eye-opener. He remarked: ‘Although we knew the plight of our patients, we had been shy in asking them about the difficulties they faced and in educating other care providers.’

Dr. Sachin Naik, another fellow, commented on his experience: ‘The way Dr. Kalyesubula decided to work for his community after training abroad was fascinating: He established an organization to help people access health, education, and even livelihoods. I was impressed by the integration of clinical practice, research in medicine and social work, especially in resource-limited settings.’

The ISN ELP program offers exposure unlike other academic or research initiatives: Collaborative leadership, personal interaction, rapport, mentorship support and opportunities for networking through other ISN Programs enhance learning and translate knowledge into action with the potential to inspire a new generation of nephrologists.

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