DMDP was pleased and honored to have Dr. Peter Gilligan come to Cambodia at our invitation. Dr. Gilligan is a Professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the Director of the Microbiology and Immunology Laboratories at the UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. He is the director of a CPEP-approved Postdoctoral Training Program in Medical and Public Health Microbiology. Dr. Gilligan continues to serve the American Society for Microbiology in many leadership roles. Dr. Gilligan met with, taught and delighted, Cambodian physicians, microbiology laboratory staff, medical technology and medical students. He saw Burkholderia pseudomallei growing on an agar plate in the microbiology laboratory of the Takeo Provincial Referral Hospital. Dr. Gilligan was enthusiastic about the DMDP program and Cambodia in general. Although he was here for only ten days, he even took a Khmer language lesson. He has already expressed an interest in returning to Cambodia and more teaching at the University of Health Sciences and we look forward to his return.
DMDP is very proud that DMDP Cambodia Country Director, Joanne Letchford has now graduated from James Cook University with a Master of Public Health majoring in Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness. Jo worked hard studying online courses, writing papers and attending classes in person at JCU, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, a very prestigious university. Jo did all this studying, writing and participating in classes while doing a fantastic job supervising Cambodian laboratory mentors, organizing workshops, consulting at the central media making laboratory, providing technical support to staff in microbiology laboratories, attending many partner meetings and a number of other activities as the DMDP Cambodia Country Director. Jo passed her courses in this program with Distinction or High Distinction.
With support from WHO Cambodia and the Bureau of Medical Laboratory Services of the Ministry of Health, DMDP organized a three day workshop on Pathogen Identification attended by participants from a number of Cambodian microbiology laboratories and students from the Technical School for Medical Care (TSMC). Joanne Letchford, all of the DMDP Cambodian mentors and laboratory staff from NAMRU-2 and the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope made presentations. The participants enjoyed using Poll Everywhere, a software program they could use on their smartphones, to answer pre-and post-test questions.
Joanne Letchford and Oeng Sopheap attended Microbe 2016, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, this year combined with the annual ICAAC meeting and held in Boston, Massachusetts from June 16-20. They presented a well received poster, “Implementation of Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing (AST) for resistance tracking using Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) M100 and M02 in Cambodian Microbiology Laboratories” Janet Hindler has generously provided much technical support to DMDP over the last several years.
DMDP was pleased to learn that the US Ambassador to Cambodia, William A. Heidt, visited the diagnostic microbiology laboratory in the Battambang Provincial Referral Hospital. The microbiology laboratory in the hospital is one of the first implemented by DMDP in partnership with the Fondation Merieux. The Supervisor of the laboratory standing to the right of the Ambassador is Dr. Chiek Sivhour, who has completed a three year course in Medical Biology at the University of Health Sciences. Sivhour is a leader in diagnostic microbiology in Cambodia. Her laboratory is very active in research and training of students. Thank you, Ambassador Heidt for taking the time to visit this lab and motivate the staff.