Chair: Professor Alan Salama
The Renal Association International Committee was formed in 2004, by Meguid El-Nahas et al, with the main goal of encouraging RA members to contribute to developing kidney services, infrastructure and expertise in medium and low income countries, through education, training, mentor-ship and research. We also work in close partnership with the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) to further these aims.
Some might say, “Well, its difficult, time-consuming, and the end-product is not guaranteed.” The best riposte to that is to let Magdi Yaqoob (from Bart’s and the London) reply:
“The main reason I do it is as moral obligation to provide education and training opportunities to young nephrology trainees in the developing world. At a personal level and also on behalf of my colleagues this is one of the main sources of job satisfaction as when these bright, extremely enthusiastic and motivated individuals return back to their own countries there to implement evidence based clinical practice in their own units. Obviously the main problem is to get them GMC registration and honorary contract at my hospital. However, the RCP sponsored schemes help and I have local Trust support, which can help make the local logistics easier. Overseas trainees work extremely hard and can bring new innovative ideas”.
The first International case based meeting was held on 30 July 2020 and hosted by Dr Debu Banerjee, Consultant Nephrologist at St George’s Hospital with Prof Arpita Chaudhury’s team at the Institute of Post graduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, India (sister centre to St George’s Hospital , London). Twenty five colleagues from the UK and India joined the zoom call, which was presented from both Kolkata and London, with a focus on transplant cases, including one with COVID-19 complications. There was an excellent informative discussion about the diagnosis and management of the cases.
An interactive zoom call will be held on every second Thursday of the month at 9AM UK time, with sessions already planned in conjunction with colleagues in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Hyderabad, India and Cairo, Egypt. If you have any contacts with colleagues abroad who may be interested in joining please contact Alan Salama or Gavin Dreyer. We are hope for an ever increasing number of colleagues to join these calls, giving their opinions and sharing experiences.
Specific Aims of the International Committee
- Raise international profile of UK renal units and teams, as teachers, trainers, educators and mentors in developing countries. We already punch well “above our weight,” but can aspire to do even more.
- Attract more overseas trainees to come and train in the UK and also give our trainees (as well as established consultants) the opportunities to make a valuable contribution by going abroad.
- To “make a real difference” (in both directions) by generating more dynamic and creative links between UK renal units and those in developing countries.
International Committee Membership (from 2013)
- Professor Alan Salama (Chair 2019 to present- )
- Aimun Ahmed
- Debasish Banerjee
- Indranil Dasgupta
- Ibi Erekosima
- Laurie Tomlinson
- Dearbhla Kelly
- Gavin Dreyer
- Turner Neil
- Mordi Muorah
- Professor Iain MacPhee (2017 – 2019)
- Professor David Goldsmith (2013-2017)
- Professor Albert Ong (2009-2013)
- Dr Dwomoa Adu (2007-2009)
- Professor Meguid El Nahas (2004-2007)
ISN Fellowship Program – Advice for Applicants and Hosts in the UK
Indranil Dasgupta and John Feehally have produced a superb guide to hosting overseas visitors and fellows. Please click here to view the PDF. We would urge everyone with an interest in fostering overseas links to read this document and use it where needed.
ISN and UK RA International Committee initiative
The ISN is now offering free ISN membership to all trainees under the age of 37. This is a generous offer and comes with no strings attached. The ISN is responsible for Kidney International, (so access to the journal will be available through the ISN Membership) as well as discounted registration for future ISN conferences. It would be good to see a full house UK trainee turnout if we can.
Member in Training (FREE) : Trainees in nephrology are encouraged to apply for ISN Member in Training. Members receive all member benefits except print copies of Kidney International. All other benefits apply. Eligible individuals must submit an online application. Advisors/Instructors/Professors/Supervisors of trainees in nephrology wishing to apply for In-Training Membership for their trainees can submit their applications using a dedicated application form. If submitting multiple applications, please fill in separate forms for each applicant, click here to download the application form.
Raising the Profile
This is one of the current priorities of the Renal Association. A number of important initiatives are sponsored by the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and its Commission for the Global Advancement of Nephrology (COMGAN). These include:
The Sister Renal Center (SRC) Program
The Sister Renal Center (SRC) Program is chaired by Dr Paul Harden (from Oxford). The scheme encourages the pairing of “sister centres” between Supporting Centres/SC (e.g. in the UK) and Emerging Centres/EC (eg in the developing world). The SRC program has 3 levels, from C to A, according to the duration of the sorority, and also the level of activities and achievement. The benefits increase from C to A with support provided by ISN for fellowships, senior scholarships, hand-on training of paramedics and organisation of meetings between the two centres. The ISN also provide travel grants for members of the EC to attend the World Congress of Nephrology, Nexus meetings and the American Society of Nephrology. Other material support includes subscriptions to Kidney International, Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology and the online ISN educational Gateway, leading textbooks in Nephrology and Internal Medicine and educational CDs.
Current UK Sister Center pairs are listed below. The annual deadline for applications is 30 September.
- UK (St Georges and Birmingham) – Ghana (Accra and Kumasi) JOINT
- UK (St George’s) – India (Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER)
- UK (Leicester) – Nigeria (Abuja)
- UK (Birmingham) – Chile (Santiago)
- UK (Stevenage) – Nigeria (Lagos)
- UK (Oxford) – Russia (Saratov) – Belarus (Minsk) TRIO
- UK (Royal London) – Malawi (Blantyre)
- UK (Sheffield) – Bosnia (Sarajevo)
Three successful pairs have graduated from this programme:
- UK (Guy’s) – Romania (Iasi) – 2008
- UK (Cardiff) – China (Nanjing) – 2009
- UK (Oxford) – Belarus (Minsk) – 2011
The ISN Fellowship Program
The ISN Fellowship Program is chaired by Professor David Harris. This scheme provides an opportunity for UK units to host trainees from the developing world for up to 12 months. Since 2002, the UK has hosted 53 ISN fellows based in 15 centres through the generous support of the ISN and Kidney Research UK. There are presently 6 ISN fellows training in the UK at 6 centres.
The Renal Association has agreed to jointly sponsor a new fellowship with the ISN annually from July 2011. The first RA-ISN Fellows appointed are:
- Name: Dr Thong Kah Mean
- Number of months: 12
- Home Country: Malaysia
- Home Institution: Hospital Kuala Lumpur
- Home Mentor: Dr. Datuk Ghazali Ahmad
- Host Country: UK
- Host Institution: Sheffield Kidney institute
- Host Mentor: Dr. Albert CM Ong
- Training Subject: Clinical (70%) – gain experience in the investigation and management of patients with inherited kidney diseases (including polycystic kidney disease)
- Name: Dr Ahmad Nasir Nassery
- Number of Months: 12
- Home Country: Pakistan
- Home Institution: Northwest General Hospital and Research Center
- Home Mentor: Dr. Arbab Nisar Ahmad Khan
- Host Country: UK
- Host Institution: Hammersmith Hospital
- Host Mentor: Dr. Edwina Brown
- Training Subject: General nephrology, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis
- Name: Dr Ali Shindy
- Number of Months: 12
- Home Country: Egypt
- Home Institution: Wagazig University hospital
- Home Mentor: Essam M Lotfy
- Host Country: UK
- Host Institution: UCL Center for Nephrology
- Host Mentor: Mark Harber
- Training Subject: Kidney Transplantation
There are two annual application deadlines (31 Jan and 31 July). You can also register your interest to host an ISN fellow by recording your unit’s interest in order to be included in the ISN fellowship matching program.
Fellows are eligible to apply for membership of the Renal Association at overseas member rates, to attend the annual KRUK Fellows Day and for sponsored places on the Renal Association Advanced Nephrology course.
The ISN COMGAN Research Committee
The ISN COMGAN Research Committee chaired by Professor G Remuzzi has launched the ISN Program for Detection and Management of Chronic Kidney Disease, Hypertension, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Disease in Developing Countries (KHDC). This program supports collaborative research with emphasis on the detection and management of CKD, hypertension and diabetes in developing countries. Applications for grants up to $20,000 are called for twice a year on the 1st of April and 1st of October.
The ISN COMGAN CME Programme
The ISN COMGAN CME Programme brings essential teaching and training to some 14,000 doctors and health care practitioners in the emerging world annually. The CME committee is chaired by Professor Norbert Lameire and is involved in sponsoring educational nephrology programmes in the developing world.
The ISN Educational Ambassador Scheme
This new scheme seeks to match specific educational needs in developing nations to that of experts from the developed nations who can offer their time and expertise on a voluntary basis. Applications can be made directly to the ISN at any time.
Opportunities to get involved
The RA international committee wishes to encourage more UK renal units and nephrologists to become involved internationally through the various ISN programs. Suggestions for wider collaborations between UK units and those in developing countries are welcome. Most members of the RA International Committee are experts in understanding the many tricky passages to navigate in getting permission for people from abroad to be able to spend time in the UK being trained, so contacting them directly with any queries would be a good way to start.