CPUT has benefited from a fellowship program, which gives African-born scholars in the United States and Canada the opportunity to collaborate with universities in six African countries.
A collaborative application between Dr Kareemah Gamieldien from CPUT’s Department of Emergency Medical Sciences (EMS) and Prof M. Faadiel Essop from the Physiological Sciences Department at Stellenbosch University, saw them being awarded the prestigious Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship. This accolade presented them with the opportunity to invite Dr Ismail Laher, a professor in the Department of Anaesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine, as a visiting academic to their institutions.
Prof Laher has travelled to South Africa where he has been collaborating with CPUT’s EMS Department as well as with Stellenbosch University’s Physiological Sciences Department on teaching, curriculum, research and mentoring. Laher said he was motivated to apply for the fellowship as he had been following Essop’s research and was keen on collaborating with him and the Department. Another motivating factor was the fact that the Western Cape is a hub for excellence in cardiovascular research.
“There are some interesting opportunities here because of the changing nature of the population – obesity is on the increase and there are other metabolic diseases. It’s an opportunity for sharing and exchanging ideas. I’ve come to learn from people here but I also have some ideas of how they can do things differently,” said Laher.
Gamieldien and Essop decided to collaborate on the fellowship because of its potential for research and education. Gamieldien said that Prof Laher had provided her with valuable feedback on improvements that could be made in terms of helping students to better learn and understand physiology.
“The main outcome is that this will help us to improve teaching physiology,” she said.
Opportunities for networking between various institutions in terms of research and teaching was also expected to flow from the initiative. Gamieldien said the program and collaboration were also in line with the vision for the Human Anatomy and Physiology in Emergency Care (HAPEC) endeavour, which was established in 2015 and strives to align anatomy and physiology to EMS.