April 05, 2022
The Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) directors convened for the semi-annual FETP Board of Directors meeting for the year 2021-2022.
Hosted at the Grand Hyatt Amman Hotel on March 24 ,2022, the meeting saw representation from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen’s FETPs.
The meeting was commenced by EMPHNET’s Workforce Capacity Team Leader, Dr. Haitham Bashier who welcomed the participants on behalf of EMPHNET Executive Director, Dr. Mohannad Al Nsour.
Following Dr. Bashier’s welcome, EMPHNET’s Knowledge Exchange and Networking Team Leader, Ms. Dana Shalabi gave a presentation about the different initiatives the organization hosts for the purpose of increasing FETP visibility and engagement. These initiatives include: the EMPHNET E-library (EEL), and the FETP Ambassador program, both of which were set to launch after Ramadan, following recommendations given by participants.
Other initiatives presented in this meeting included the EMPHNET WEBi Series, the ENGAGE internship program, the FETP Newsletter, and the EMPHNET biannual regional conference, all of which are successfully up and running. The presentation also revealed plans to launch an FETP Alumni association and to re-vamp the networking platform EpiShares. However, participants recommended that these last two initiatives be launched during the fiscal year of 2022-2023. Another suggestion made during this presentation was to open up the ENGAGE internship program so that it offers internship opportunities in FETP countries as well.
Following the presentation, discussions were made about the Eighth EMPHNET Regional Conference, and it was decided that this edition of the conference will be held towards the end of 2023 with its host location yet to be decided.
From another end, EMPHNET Communication Specialist, Ms. Ala’ Al Kharabsheh presented another one of the organization’s initiatives “EpiNews”, an online portal set to offer updated public health news from the region and beyond. The news portal is also set to be launched after the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Following Ms. Al Kharabsheh’s presentation, Public Health Specialist, Ms. Ilham Abu Khader presented a dashboard developed by EMPHNET which is set to offer real-time updates on various statistics related to FETPs in the region including: numbers of graduates, cohorts, investigations conducted, etc. Ms. Abu Khader also presented the FETP Exchange program, a program set to offer FETP residents the opportunity to complete a portion of their training within another program in the region as a means to share experiences. Finally, she also outlined the accreditation process for FETPs, and this was followed by a discussion on the way forward to get programs from the region accredited.
Instructional Design Specialist, Mr. Ahmad Al-Talafih also introduced the Learning Management System developed by EMPHNET, highlighting the courses it offers and the role it played in spearheading online training for FETPs in the region.
From his end, Dr. Bashier presented the anticipated strategic direction for FETPs in the region. He said that in response to past discussions about lack of mentorship in the region for residents, EMPHNET will be hosting a regional master trainer workshop for mentorship in May, as well as a full mentorship package. Similarly, the Director of the Center of Excellence for Applied Epidemiology (CEAE) at EMPHNET, Dr. Yousef Khader spoke about a Scientific Writing workshop to be held in July for the region’s FETPs. Dr. Khader also outlined other ways in which FETPs and EMPHNET can work together to advance public health research and publications in the region, and to grant FETPs more visibility in this area.
The meeting was concluded by Dr. Al Nsour, recommunicated EMPHNET’s commitment to continue supporting the countries’ FETP, and he stated that the recommendations from the meeting will be considered for future plans.