“The division’s impact continues to expand not only in Guatemala but now also into other Central American countries – with a little help from YouTube and Twitter!” says Marcos Rothstein, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology at Washington University. Dr. Rothstein is referring to the Third Annual Update in Nephrology Conference, recently held in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The conference, which highlights the battle against chronic kidney disease in Guatemala, is a collaborative effort of the Washington University School of Medicine and the Guatemalan Social Security Institute (IGSS) – an official “Sister Renal Centers” pair.
A group of WashU nephrologists led by Rothstein traveled to Guatemala on October 3-5, 2019, as co-organizers and presenters at the conference. Returning to Guatemala for the second consecutive year, were Anitha Vijayan, MD, Tingting Li, MD, and Tarek Alhamad, MD. Organizing the event on location in Guatemala was Vincente Sanchez Polo, MD, Chief of Nephrology, San Carlos University Renal Division at IGSS.
The popular conference, which covered a number of topics relating to clinical and transplant nephrology, not only attracted nephrologists from cities throughout Guatemala, but also reached those who couldn’t travel via YouTube live-streaming to several centers in Central America and intensive coverage on Twitter.
There were 50 participants at the conference, including current trainees and alumni of the program, in addition to a large number of tele-participants. “The Third Annual Update in Nephrology Conference met and exceeded the academic objectives and teaching mission, and greatly strengthened the ongoing relationship between the Sister institutions,” says Dr. Sanchez Polo.
Sanchez Polo opened the conference with a report on renal health in Guatemala. Dr. Vijayan spoke on the diagnoses and treatment of acute kidney injury and biomarkers for early detection of disease, and Dr. Li discussed lupus nephritis and rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. Dr. Alhamad presented information relating to tacrolimus pharmacokinetics and recurrent focal segmental glomerulosclerosis post kidney transplant, while Dr. Rothstein discussed the history of dialysis, an update on erythropoiesis-stimulating agents and a revision in the field of onconephrology.
“This was another year of successful growth of the nephrology symposium and even stronger collaboration between WashU and Guatemala nephrology social services,” says Alhamad. “This collaboration comes along with an expansion of the nephrology training program, nephrology services in Guatemala City, and outreach nephrology access to rural areas in Guatemala.”
“The seminar concluded with outstanding presentations from IGSS fellows including Drs. Ilse Garcia, Karen Anleu, and Celso Mazariegos, along with excellent discussions presented by nephropathologist Werner de Leon, and senior attending Alejandro Lucas,” says Rothstein.
Dr. Vijayan commented that the symposium was extremely well organized and well attended. “The physicians were thoroughly engaged and eager to hear the new information on the various topics that were presented,” she says. “The fellow presentations at the end were superb!”
The conference was sponsored by the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the IGSS. This ISN Sister Renal Center pairing between the WashU School of Medicine and IGSS Nephrology centers this year reached the rare and distinct achievement of being officially recognized as a Level A pair. For more on the ISN SRC program, see here. In addition, the project in Guatemala has been underwritten with generous support from the Eric P. & Evelyn E. Newman Foundation.
Rothstein, who is one of the founders of the annual nephrology conference, says, “As usual, the visiting delegation from WashU experienced the beauty and charm of Guatemala and the gratitude of the participants.”
On Twitter, please follow Drs. Rothstein @NephroMaven, Vicente Sanchez Polo @visanpolo, Alhamad @TransplantPulse, Li @Ting2li, and Vijayan @VijayanMD, and WU Nephrology @WUNephrology, and ISN @ISNkidneycare.
See more pictures on the Division of Nephrology’s Facebook page.