Stellenbosch University’s (SU) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences’ (FMHS) Department of Psychiatry has received an endowment from Sanford Health for a research fellowship in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
The endowment was announced during a Sanford Health delegation’s recent visit to the FMHS at Stellenbosch University. Sanford Health is one of the largest non-profit integrated healthcare systems in the United States (US). Sanford Health has established the Sanford World Clinic initiative, which focuses primarily on International Paediatric Healthcare. It currently has a presence in four countries.
The fellowship is called the Sanford Hoyme Research Programme in FASD, and will support a research fellowship to undertake clinical and genetic research in the prevention and treatment of FASD. It is named after the Dr Gene Hoyme, the Chief of Genetics and Genomic Medicine and Chief Academic Officer for Sanford Health. He has led FASD research studies in South Africa for the past 15 years and helped establish the prevalence rate of FASD in South Africa, which remains the highest documented rate in the world.
“This research partnership with Stellenbosch University has been revolutionary in terms of our understanding of this condition. Not only in terms of helping define the extent of the problem here in South Africa, but also in terms of knowing how to make a diagnosis quickly and accurately and a lot of the science around that,” Hoyme said during the unveiling of a plaque in the Department of Psychiatry to acknowledge the sponsors of the fellowship.
He has collaborated with Prof Soraya Seedat, head of the Department of Psychiatry at the FMHS, on FASD research since 2008. This department has an established research programme in FASD and Hoyme has been the chief dysmorphologist on a series of successive studies in the Western Cape funded by the National Institutes of Health in the US. Over the years, Hoyme has mentored early career researchers and clinicians in South Africa.
“The endowment will allow for the appointment of a talented early career research fellow, in perpetuity, who will be closely mentored by Dr Hoyme,” said Prof Soraya Seedat, Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the FMHS.
“The FASD research team is also very excited about the possibility of establishing a Research Chair in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in the near future, to sustain and expand much needed interventional and predictive-diagnostic research in this area,” Seedat concluded.
Source Stellenbosch University