Vaccinology in the Tropics, a successful event
Organized by USF Health International Foundation, an affiliate of the Academic Department of the City of Knowledge Foundation, the Second International Congress of Vaccinology in the Tropics was held from March 15 to March 17, at the Hotel Intercontinental Playa Bonita Resort & Spa.
Health professionals came to Panama from diverse countries in America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia to participate in the conference with leading international exhibitors. The course directors, Dr. Ricardo Izurieta, Dr. Xavier Sáez-Llorens and Dr. Arlene Calvo worked with international partners such as the Gorgas Memorial Institute in Panama and the U.S., the National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (SENACYT), the Center for Advanced Projects in Argentina (CEDEPAP), the City of Knowledge Foundation and UNICEF, to ensure a successful event.
Dr. Stephen Klasko, Senior Vice President of USF Health and Dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, gave the keynote address highlighting the signing of the historic agreement between the Gorgas Memorial Institute of the United States and its counterpart in Panama. The event was attended by the Dean of the Faculty of Public Health, Dr. Donna Petersen, and Dr. Dianne Morrison-Beedy, from the Faculty of Nursing at USF, among other authorities and representatives of USF like Dr. Ann DeBaldo, Deborah Sutherland, Betty Castor, Sam Bell, Alicia Monroe, Connie Visovsky, Robert Nelson, Maria Crummett, among others.
The conference program included two world authorities on the investigation of the Dengue and Pneumococcal vaccine like Dr. Scott Halstead and Keith Klugman, respectively. USF Health invited speakers which included Dr. Wilbur Milhous and John Adams, who spoke of the advances in malaria research, Dr. Lindsey Shaw who spoke of the vaccine of S. Aeureus and Dr. Alberto Van Olphen, moderating the influenza and malaria sessions.
Other internationally recognized speakers were Dr. Octavio Ramilo of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and Dr. Rolando Herrero of the International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC) in France. They were joined by distinguished researchers with expertise in research, development and implementation of vaccines, such as: Dr. Adriano Arguedas and Maria Luisa Avila, Minister of Health of Costa Rica, Raúl Isturiz of Venezuela and former President of the International Society of Infectious Diseases, Pio Lopez of Colombia, Miguel O’Ryan of Chile, David Prado of Guatemala, and Miguel Tregnaghi of Argentina.
International organizations like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), supported the conference with exhibitors like Eduardo Azziz-Baumgartner and Enrique Paz, former Minister of Health in Bolivia. Event sponsors included USF, NIH, SENACYT and private laboratories of vaccines including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck Sharp & Dohme and Sanofi Pasteur.
The conference was a success because it exceeded expectations. The «excellent scientific program and meticulously organized logistics » were ongoing feedback during the conference, which is already being planned for the year 2015 in Panama.