Fellowships & Preceptorships
In the context of its educational programme and objective to contribute to the lifelong learning and progress in the field of thalassaemia and haemoglobinopathies, the Thalassaemia International Federation organises fellowships and preceptorships benefiting healthcare professionals.
Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) has launched, in the context of its educational programme, in 2013 a new initiative; A fellowship program, the Renzo Galanello Fellowship Programme, in honour of the late Professor Renzo Galanello, a pioneer in the field of thalassaemia research and management.
This programme has been initially developed in collaboration with the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust in London, UK, with the support of Novartis Pharma. This is part of TIF’s Educational Programme and is offered to physicians, specialists in the field of haematology, paediatrics or internal medicine. In our effort however to widely spread this fellowship and collaborate with other reference centres as well, the training is now offered through the
In our effort however to widely spread this fellowship and collaborate with other reference centres as well, the training is now offered through the Joint Red Cell Unit, Haematology Department of the University College London NHS Foundation Trust in London, UK under the supervision and coordination of Professor John Porter, Professor of Haematology and Dr Perla Eleftheriou, Consultant Haematologist.
TIF is aware that in many countries there is a lack of trained medical staff and as result, healthcare of haemoglobinopathy patients is less than optimum in many countries rudimentary. This need is partially due to a general poorer interest in haematology circles for non-malignant haematological disorders but also because these disorders are regarded as rare and as such are not given priority or integrated into national strategies or programmes. Policies for rare and chronic disorders are suboptimal or inadequate in many countries and health policy interest is diverted to other health ‘priorities’. Improving knowledge towards holistic care in thalassaemia and sickle cell disease has been a TIF priority since its establishment and this need has no geographical boundaries.
Improving policies for the prevention and management of these disorders, constitutes a vast and invaluable contribution towards the health and quality of lives of our patients and towards national, regional and international public health and social burden; Since these diseases are polyorganic in nature, have lifelong dependency on blood and are genetic in aetiology, bear considerable medical, public health and social repercussions in addition to the economic ones.
These are short visits by specialists who already know their subject but wish to benefit from contact with experts, in order to update or ‘polish, a technique or aspect of care. They should not last for more than 4-5 days and each group cannot consist of more than 4-5 individuals. The format of each preceptorship is based mainly on discussion and case presentation (for the clinical side) or laboratory techniques (for the lab side).
These are for practising physicians, already treating thalassaemia patients, who need to discuss a particular aspect of patient care. It is not meant to go over the whole thalassaemia care protocol but to focus on aspect according to the needs of a country or of a group of physicians sharing the same interests.
At present these needs have not been fully decided since they will emerge from discussion with a group or individual doctors. Examples could be:
- A preceptorship on MRI monitoring
- A preceptorship on specific aspects of iron chelation
- A preceptorship on endocrine monitoring or treatment
- A preceptorship on cardiac complications
- A preceptorship on generic drugs or treatment adherence
Clinical preceptorships should be based on clinical case presentations and discussions. A prearranged agenda may not therefore be appropriate each time. This will depend on the subject chosen and the interest of the participants. It will vary from clinical research to issues of routine care. The subject matter will be discussed with the services who need the preceptorship and the expert centre will be chosen according to its specific sphere of interest. However an example can be given of a cardiology preceptorship: in this
- a day can be devoted to case discussions,
- while on the second day candidates can be asked to use echocardiographs and discuss interpretation with the expert,
- while a third day may be devoted to arrhythmias and so interpreting Holter monitoring will be an aspect with discussion on when to treat an arrhythmia.
The same principles apply for the laboratory preceptorships, in which specific laboratory procedures will be discussed according to the needs of the interested parties. Subjects we expect will be more in the diagnostic aspects of haemoglobin disorders, especially molecular techniques. They may also cover aspects of research, and include subjects like gene editing or therapy.
A combined subject such as genotype/phenotype correlation, may involve both clinicians and laboratory scientists.
Again the choice of expert centre will depend on the subject to be discussed.