Thursday, 06 February 2020 12:18

The ISN Fellowship Program: 35 years of providing specialist training to doctors from emerging countries to improve kidney health in their home country

Since 1985, the ISN Fellowship Program has supported over 800 fellows from 90 emerging countries. The program encourages professional fulfillment and supports equitable healthcare by establishing Fellows as valuable leaders in their home region qualified to share knowledge and experience.

Many past ISN Fellows make use of other ISN Programs and become involved in ISN committees or supporting groups. To highlight the potential for personal growth and professional influence that the Fellowship Program provides to all Fellows, ISN presents here a sample of past Fellows with notable active participation in and commitment to ISN activities.

An ISN member since 2012, Abduzhappar Gaipov, from Kazakhstan, became an ISN Investigator in 2014 getting involved in the AKI Global Snapshot study. He completed an online certified course on Renal Pathology (ISN-ANIO CNC Program) in 2016 at which time he joined the Young Nephrologists Committee.

Dr. Gaipov was awarded a Fellowship in 2017, training in clinical and epidemiological research methodology under mentorship from Prof. Csaba P. Kovesdy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in the USA.

In 2017, he organized the CME meeting: “1st National Congress of Kazakhstan Society of Nephrologists, Dialysis and Transplant” in Aktau, Kazakhstan and joined the ISN-ACT (Advancing Clinical Trials) initiative.

He now serves on the CME Committee and is a member of the ISN Council, as Deputy Chair of the ISN NIS & Russia Regional Board.


Anthony Russell Villanueva, far right.

Anthony Russell Villanueva, from the Philippines, was awarded a Fellowship in 2012 and received clinical training in general nephrology and research in renal medicine at the University of Michigan in the USA under Dr. Panduranga Rao at the University of Michigan in the USA from 2013-2014.

In 2018, Dr. Villanueva became a key participant in the ISN Sister Renal Centers (SRC) partnership co-sponsored by ISN and the Asian Pacific Society of Nephrology. He took on the role of Liaison Officer for the Emerging Center at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City in the Philippines who were supported through the program by Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore.

In 2019, he began serving on the ISN Oceania and South-East Asia Regional Board; and in the ISN Renal Disaster Preparedness Working Group, which was set up to provide expertise and assistance in renal-related matters in emergency situations.

Facilitated by his involvement with the ISN, Dr. Villaneuva took over as training officer at one of the largest Nephrology Training Programs in the Philippines and helped set up a Glomerulonephrotis Clinic. Currently an assistant program manager of the Renal Disease Control Program (REDCOP), he is able to promote preventative nephrology to local government units.

Fatiu Abiola Arogundade, from Nigeria, Africa, became an ISN member in 1999. In 2001, he undertook a Fellowship at the Cairo Kidney Center in Egypt, training for one year.

He has been a member of various ISN Committees over the years, including the Sister Renal Centre Committee and the Committee on Kidney Health in Disadvantaged Populations.

Dr. Abiola coordinated the SRC relationship between Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife, and the Division of Nephrology at the University of Virginia which graduated from Category A in 2018. He was Home Mentor to four ISN Fellows between 2012-2019 and an EAP program organizer in 2013. He has frequently been an abstract reviewer at the World Congress of Nephrology (WCN) having published 84 papers in peer-reviewed national and international journals himself.

Fatiu Abiola is currently a member of the Educational Ambassadors Committee.

Rolando Claure-Del Granado, from the University of San Simón in Cochabamba, Bolivia, was awarded an ISN Fellowship in 2009 to undertake a one-year research Fellowship under mentorship from Dr. Ravindra L. Mehta in the Division of Nephrology at the University of San Diego, USA. The goal was to obtain further exposure to clinical research in acute renal failure and continuous renal replacement therapies. His training combined practical experience in a clinical research project with a core curriculum in clinical research methodology.

In 2015, Dr. Claure-Del Granado organized a CME meeting, ‘YNC 0by25 Workshop’ on AKI, in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, in collaboration with the Bolivian Society of Nephrology. In 2019, he arranged the 12th International Bolivian Congress of Nephrology. This meeting provided a comprehensive review of advances in clinical care and research in AKI, CKD, and Kidney Transplant and featured three workshops including a hands-on workshop on Hemodiafiltration.

Dr. Claure-Del Granado was chair of the Young Nephrologists Committee from 2016-2018. He is currently a member of the @ISNeducation Team, the WCN 2020 Social Media Team, the YNC, and the Fellowship Committee. He is Emerging Center Leader for the ongoing SRC partnership between Hospital Obrero #2, C.N.S./Universidad Mayor de San Simon in Bolivia and the University of California, San Diego as well as Site Leader for the Kidney Care Network project.

Mirna Aleckovic-Halilovic, from the Clinic of Internal diseases at the University Clinical Center Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina, trained for six months under Dr. Ahmed Aimun at the Royal Preston Hospital in the UK in 2015. An SRC pairing was also established between these institutions. Dr. Aleckovic-Halilovic acknowledged the advantage of being able to participate in both these programs simultaneously, stating that they “benefit each other in so many ways and facilitate achieving [the] purposes of both.”

Dr. Aleckovic-Halilovic was able to improve transplantation medicine in both her home institution and in her home country as a whole by adopting a higher quantity of biopsies using new biopsy techniques. She shared her expertise through research and publications and assisted colleagues from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia in their applications for ISN Fellowships.

Dr. Aleckovic-Halilovic joined the Young Nephrologists Committee and became a member of the Eastern and Central Europe Regional Board in 2017 and a member of the ISN Clinical Research Committee in 2019.

Last year, she organized a week-long Educational Ambassador visit by Dr. Ahmed Aimun on Glomerular Diseases with a focus on hands-on training in Kidney Biopsy.

Apply for an ISN Fellowship here.

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