VCU welcomes Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows for leadership training and experience
University Public Affairs
Virginia Commonwealth University President Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D., is surrounded by eight visiting Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows. They come from developing countries and will learn about U.S. medical practices and culture. Photo by: Mike Porter/VCU News Services.
Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies has been selected by the Institute of International Education and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, as a new site for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.
The program brings eight established health professionals from developing countries to VCU for a year of study and related practical professional experiences. Fellows include:
- Dr. Kevin Goulbourne, from Montego Bay, Jamaica, is a regional consultant psychiatrist for the Jamaican Western Regional Health Authority, with a focus on mental health and substance abuse services, planning and coordination. During the fellowship, he seeks additional experience in drug abuse treatment research and program planning.
- Dr. Adham Hamd, from Damascus, Syria, has practiced orthodontics for the public health directorate of Qunaitera. He hopes to broaden his experience in public health dentistry and policy development with a focus on resource allocation and dental health economics.
- Ms. Rehana Kader, from Cape Town, South Africa, is director of Positive Muslims, a non-governmental organization active in HIV/AIDS prevention. She wants to gain additional experience and training here that will allow her to improve the health of South Africans in the areas of mental health, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Ms. Lala Margaryants, from Yerevanin, Republic of Armenia, works in the Scientific Centre of Drug and Medical Technology Expertise, where she monitors drug policy and legislation, analyzes worldwide pharmaceutical developments and serves as a liaison to the World Health Organization. She wants to learn more about public health pharmacy, pharmacoeconomics, and related health issues.
- Ms. Desirée Molina, from Maracaibo, Venezuela, is a licensed clinical psychologist and director of the Outpatient Drug Abuse Program for the José Felix Ribas Foundation, and coordinator for the inpatient and outpatient psychology area of Maracaibo-Zulia State General Hospital. She seeks additional training in substance abuse and co-morbid mental health treatment.
- Mr. Duc Cuu Nguyen, from Hanoi, Vietnam, currently works on national drug policy and international cooperation for drug control in the Standing Office on Drug Control of Vietnam He wants to learn more about drug abuse treatment and prevention in the United States, as well as broaden his experience in drug control.
- Dr. Peter Ndege, from Nairobi, Kenya, currently is in charge of a comprehensive HIV/AIDS clinic that specializes in treating patients with substance-abuse disorders. He seeks to broaden his experience in the HIV/AIDS and drug abuse treatment and prevention areas and develop his skills as a researcher.
- Dr. Giselle Gonzalez, from Panama City, Panama, is currently director of the Department of Dentistry at a large public hospital. During the fellowship, she would like to learn more about public health dentistry, health administration and health policy.
VCU President Eugene P. Trani, Ph. D., welcomed the fellows during a reception at the Scott House.
“It is wonderful to welcome our visiting guests,” Trani said. “You join a strong international presence here at VCU, which in this past year included 1,000 international students and 650 international scholars.”
Program Coordinator Robert L. Balster, Ph.D., says the program allows the fellows to learn about U.S. society and culture and provides a basis for lasting ties between U.S. citizens and their professional counterparts in other countries.
“I view the Humphrey Fellowship Program as an exchange of ideas. Fellows can learn more about how the United States approaches its problems of substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and other areas of healthcare, but we in turn can learn about approaches being tried elsewhere,” said Balster.
The fellows arrived Aug. 14 and Aug. 15 and will spend two semesters at VCU.
“It’s a new experience, a new culture. For me, it’s very exciting. I want to learn about the health structure in the U.S. and see what I can copy for my country. Everyone we’ve met has been friendly and helpful,” said Gonzalez.
VCU President Eugene P. Trani, Ph. D., welcomes Dr. Giselle Gonzalez, from Panama City, Panama, as other fellows look on. Gonzalez is currently director of the Department of Dentistry at a large public hospital and plans to incorporate what she learns here into her work back home. Photo by: Mike Porter/VCU News Services
VCU’s Office of International Education works closely with faculty to write grants that support efforts like the Humphrey Fellowship program. The office also develops international programs in order to create global opportunities for faculty and students.
“Hosting the Humphrey Program is just another excellent example of the commitment VCU has to in-depth and innovative international endeavors and to building relationships around the world,” said Peter Kirkpatrick, Ph. D., executive director of the Office of International Education. “The Humphrey fellows join a list of more than 642 international scholars on non-immigration visas who come from 65 different countries and are currently on both campuses.”