National School of Tropical Medicine announces first educational program

Nov. 1, 2011

Dr. Peter Hotez leads BCM's new School of Tropical Medicine, which will soon offer the Diploma in Tropical Medicine.
Dr. Peter Hotez leads BCM's new School of Tropical Medicine, which will soon offer the Diploma in Tropical Medicine.

The newly established National School of Tropical Medicine at BCM, under the leadership of world renowned neglected diseases expert Dr. Peter J. Hotez, is making great strides, including in the education arena.

The school will soon offer the Diploma in Tropical Medicine. This program will be open to all health care professionals including physicians, nurses, physician assistants, dentists and pharmacists.

The 10-week course will be offered to health care professionals two times a year, with one session lasting from June through August and another from February through April.

Training begins summer 2012

The first students for the degree program will begin training in the summer of 2012.

The diploma consists of five modules that are each two weeks long, and the program then requires three months of international experience through a research project.

"This diploma is unique because it has more didactic courses, but also maximizes on laboratory and hands-on experience," said Dr. Laila Woc-Colburn, co-director of medical education for the National School of Tropical Medicine at BCM and assistant professor of medicine – infectious diseases at BCM.

Program modules

The modules for the program include:

  • Parasites
  • Bacteria (tropical bacteria and viruses)
  • Clinical and traveler's health
  • Epidemiology, public health and health metrics
  • Nutrition and maternal and child health

Health care professionals who complete the course are able to address and treat neglected tropical diseases – this provides them with an added benefit to their daily practice, according to Woc-Colburn.

Comprehensive training

"We want to provide comprehensive training for these tropical diseases that would augment training for health care providers here and give them the tools that they need to go overseas and work in low and middle income countries to provide treatment," said Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at BCM. "We also want to provide training for people from overseas as well – so we welcome health care providers from Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and from South East Asia."

After completing the program, students can go on to take the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene's certificate exam.

Other programs that will be offered through the school in the future include a master's of science in translational biotechnology and vaccine development and a Ph.D. in global health technologies and tropical medicine.