Washington, DC – A University of Pécs Medical School (UPMS) staff completed a ten-day research trip sponsored by the US Department of State’s US Voluntary Visitors Program in Washington, DC, San Francisco, CA and Atlanta, GA on November 12-22. The Coalition was instrumental in assisting with the formulation and presentation of the project by the UPMS team.
The aim of the program was to learn how migration health is integrated into the US public health and social care system. During the trip, the UPMS Team sought to review and learn about US migration health policy and Center for Disease Control guidelines; review and study US government policy in preventing trafficking of human beings, including on-going counter trafficking projects; and study and learn the setup and management of special health needs of underserved population (migrants, ethnic minorities etc.) with a focus on TB care and vaccination programs. The Coalition was instrumental in helping the formulation and presentation of the project by the UPMS team.
The program participants included Prof. Dr. István Szilárd, an internationally acknowledged expert on migration health and health assistance to victims of human trafficking and coordinator of the Editorial Office of Public Health Aspects of Migration in Europe, WHO’s electronic newsletter; Ms. Zsófia Klaudia Freund, who has been involved in scientific activities through various projects of UPMS; Dr. Szabolcs Fekete, who has extensive knowledge in the procurement processes of national and EU grant systems and already participated in the Voluntary Visitors Program in 2003; and Dr. Zoltán Katz, Assistant Professor at UPMS’s Department of Operational Medicine Migration Health Programs.
During the ten-day-long program, the UPMS Team had the chance to visit the National Institute of Health, Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the US Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC. Then they travelled to San Francisco, CA, and were guests of various departments of University of California, including Curry International Tuberculosis Centre, Center for Vulnerable Populations and the AIDS Research Institute as well as they paid a visit to the San Francisco Department of Public Health Tuberculosis Control Programs and the HIV/AIDS Unit of Glide Healthcare Clinic. Finally, the group of researchers ended their trip in Atlanta, GA, where they met representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant Health Branch, Mercy Mobile Healthcare, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Emory Global Health Institute.
After completing the program, the UPMS team will be in a position to effectively impart its freshly accumulated knowledge. In addition, UPMS will encourage regional experts to develop relationships with US institutions in this field, most probably as members of a consortium coordinated by UPMS.