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Commission on Latin American Affairs

Aims

1. To promote epilepsy education and research in the Latin American Region

2. To coordinate academic activities among the ILAE Latin America Region chapters

3. To improve the health care of people with epilepsy in Latin America

4. To provide and promote epilepsy education and research with excellence, quality, efficient and humanistic approach for medical and non-medical professionals in Latin America

 

Commission Activities from January 1, 2006 until May 31, 2007

1. Latin American Epilepsy Academy (Academia Latino Americana de Epilepsia ALADE)
Members: Elza Yacubian, Marco T Medina (Chair), Esper Cavalheiro (Secretary, Brazil), Marcelo Devilat, Alejandro Scaramelli, Patricia Campos, Henry Stokes and Salvador Gonzalez-Pal

On February 12th, 2007 during the First Latin American Summer School on Epilepsy (LASSE) in Sao Paulo, an official meeting of the ILAE Commission on Latin American Affairs was carried out, with the participation of: Dr Elza M.Yacubian (Chair, ILAE Education Commission), Dr.Marcelo Devilat (Secretary), Dr. Henry Stokes, Dr. Alejandro Scaramelli, Dr. Marco T Medina (Chair, ILAE Latin American Commission), Dr. Peter Wolf (ILAE President), Dr Nico Moshe (ILAE Secretary), Dr Esper Cavalheiro (LASSE Director), Dr Fernando Cendes (ILAE Brazilian Chapter President) and Dr. Jaime Fandiño F. (ILAE Colombian Chapter President)

During this meeting the Latin American Epilepsy Academy (known also as ALADE: Academia Latino Americana de Epilepsia) was founded. The proposals from Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Mexico were evaluated as well as the Rules and Regulations of the Asian Epilepsy Academy (ASEPA) and the European Academy of Epilepsy (EUREPA). Dr Yacubian and Dr Marco T Medina presented a Strategic Planning project for the ALADE.

ALADE Mission: To provide and promote epilepsy education and research with excellence, quality, efficient and humanistic approach for medical and non-medical professionals in Latin America.

ALADE Vision: To be a Latin American Institution, a logistic Branch of the ILAE Latin American Commission and the ILAE Education Commission, established to promote and provide epilepsy education and research, aiming to improve the health care of people with epilepsy in the region.

Goal: The goal of ALAE is to promote epilepsy education and research in the Latin American region in order to improve health care of people with epilepsy.

Legal Status: The ALADE will have a legal status in the country of the long-term Secretary.  Professor Esper Cavalheiro from Sao Paulo, Brazil was appointed as the first ALADE Secretary. During the first two years (mid-term of the ILAE Commission on Latin American Affairs) the Chairman of the Latin American Commission (Dr Marco T Medina) will act as the ALADE Chair, and the ALADE executive committee will be formed by the members of the Latin American Commission: Dr Marcelo Devilat, Dr Henry Stokes, Dr. Salvador Gonzalez-Pal, Dr Alejandro Scaramelli, Dr Elza Yacubian, Dr. Patricia Campos.

Short term activities (6 to 12 months):
1. Establish a consensus on the ALADE structure, rules, regulations and scope
2. Create a Fund-raising sub committee
3. Appoint National Educational Coordinators or Directors per ILAE national chapters
4. Create the ALADE Website
5. Work on the legal status of ALADE and the facilities
6. Cooperate with the ILAE North American Commission

Medium Term activities (1 year to 2 years):
1. Promote the LASSE Annually
2. Establish a CME regional process
3. Establish guidelines for training and research in different subjects
4. Evaluate a Certification Board
5. Produce educational materials based on problem and epidemiological oriented-methodology

Long Term Activities (two to three years):
1. Certification of Epilepsy Centers
2. Establish Epilepsy training programs (pilot programs)
3. Produce educational materials related to specific regional epilepsy problems

Organization
1. The ALADE shall be an educational arm of the ILAE Commission on Latin American Affairs and the ILAE Education Commission

2. The ALADE will be managed by a seven member Executive Committee consisting of two members of the ILAE Latin America Commission. During the Consolidation phase the Chairman and members of the ILAE Commission on Latin American Affairs will coordinate ALADE. The Permanent Secretary will be Prof. Esper Cavalheiro , and five members will be appointed at the mid term of the ILAE Commission on Latin American Affairs: The Chairman and the Secretary of LA Commission, a Member of ILAE Education Commission, and three nominated members from Latin American chapters

3. Term of the office of the Chairman will be four years.

4. We will appoint national coordinators based on their commitment to education and research experience, knowledge and leadership,

2. 1st LASSE – LATIN AMERICAN SUMMER SCHOOL ON EPILEPSY
“Epilepsy: translating basic knowledge into clinical applications”
Santa Monica Hotel and Convention Center in Guarulhos, São Paulo, Brazil, from 4-14 February 2007.
Director: Esper A. Cavalheiro
Organizing Committee: Elza Márcia Yacubian, Fernando Cendes, Américo Sakamoto, João Pereira Leite, Luiz Eugênio Mello, Alexandre Valotta da Silva.

Students: From 184 applications, organizers have selected 22 students from Spanish speaking Latin American countries (Mexico-3, Honduras-1, Guatemala-2, Cuba-2, Venezuela-1, Colombia-3, Peru-3, Argentina-4, Uruguay-3), 22 students from Brazil, 3 students from Angola and 2 students from Mozambique = 49 students. All but one student (from Honduras) joined the meeting. Their expenses (travel and hotel with full board) have being paid. Air tickets for African students have been provided by their governments. Others: 4 students from Brazil, 1 from Uruguay and 1 from Peru attended the meeting as they have paid their personal expenses and no registration fee was claimed.

Results:
Although the evaluation made by LASSE students is still being analyzed, the global impression is that LASSE has exceeded its objectives. The atmosphere was excellent and students were delighted with the experience. Some have even expressed the feeling that LASSE has given a new direction to their professional life. Several factors contributed to LASSE success and among them it is important to mention: (a) the hotel location (far from appealing tourist attractions but with good services); (b) teacher's dedication, commitment and generosity; (c) the program that covered different aspects of basic and clinical epileptology allowing a closer interaction of students from these two areas and (d) the open discussion with contributions of all teachers present at the conference room. Some points need to be modified in future LASSE editions: (a) increase time for discussion between each conference; (b) provide more free time for students’ interaction and preparation of the research project.

3.  Education Project with The ILAE North American Commission (joint report from the North American and Latin American Commissions)
Members: Sheryl Haut (Leader), Jean Gotman, Nizam Ahmed, Juan Ochoa, Jose Cavazos, Marco T Medina (Latin American Commission), Elza Yakubian (Education Commission).

The North American and the Latin American Commissions of the ILAE have joined forces in their commitment to improve the quality of Epilepsy care in Latin America. The primary vehicle used is improvement in the transfer of knowledge. Accordingly, the group has designed and is beginning to implement a three-level plan:

Level One: Selected Epileptologists from the North American Region, knowledgeable in Spanish or Portugese will visit medical centers in Latin America for one to two weeks. They will be active in regional Epilepsy meetings and spend time in Epilepsy centers, teaching clinically and didactically, as well as participating in clinical discussions. The intent is to reach as many health care providers as possible. There will be four visiting professorships per year with an initial plan for a five year program. Under the leadership of Dr. J. Cavazos, this component of the educational initiative has received funds from an unrestricted grant from the USA pharmaceutical industry and is intended to start in the 2008 cycle.

Level Two: Medium term relationships will be established between North American and Latin American Commissions for exchange of information, primarily through electronic means, including video conferencing and particularly web-based exchanges and telephone conferences. This could include clinical aspects, training issues, and other case-based discussions.

Level Three: A long-term relationship will be established between North American and Latin American centers, possibly spanning from 1-3 years, involving training at the North American centre of a number of staff and personnel from the trainee center in Latin America. The Latin American Commission (through ALADE) will participate actively throughout the process, and provide feedback in terms of results and direction of these educational initiatives.

4. Island of Hispaniola (Haiti) Project (joint report from the North American and Latin American Commissions)
Members: Lionel Carmant (leader, Canada), Marco Medina (Latin American Commission), Diogenes Santos-Villorio (Dominican Republic), Michel Baldy Mouliner (EUREPA), Alex Elie (Haiti), and Dr. Marcel Severe (Haiti).

The thrust of this project is to develop epilepsy clinics/centers in Haiti. Initial groundwork has uncovered a dramatic lack of epilepsy resources and expertise in epilepsy. The overarching goal is to create an epilepsy chapter in Haiti, and create core expertise and resources that will then extend throughout the rest of the country. Local physicians in Haiti have been identified who will help promote this, including Dr. Alex Elie and Dr. Marcel Seveere. There is strong collaboration from the Latin American Commission in this regard, particularly from the President of the Latin American Commission and also from Dr. Santos-Villorio, President of the Dominican Republic League Against Epilepsy. The initial activities include providing training for technologists and epilepsy nurses from Haiti at a Dominican Republic Centre. Further liaison and support will be developed as needs arise. Importantly, the Canadian League Against Epilepsy is also actively involved in this project through its Francophone resources. External resources being sought involve groups from the USA, Canada, and also a project in collaboration with Dominican region to address the problem of Neurocysticercosis.

5. Epilepsy Educational Symposium supported by the ILAE Latin American Commission during the Panamerican Neurology Congress Dominican Republic and the International Epilepsy Congress in Singapore During the Pan-American Neurology Congress on 7 to 13 October, 2007, the Latin American Commission, the North American Commission and the Dominican Republic Chapter is organizing an Educational Epilepsy Course (on 10th October, 2007), with the participation of: Samuel Wiebe (North America Commission, Canada) Lionel Carmant (Canadian ILAE Chapter), Henry Stokes (Latin American Commission, Guatemala), Salvador Gonzalez-Pal (Latin American Chapter, Cuba), Marco T Medina (Latin American Commission), Diogenes Santos Viloria, Jose Cabrera and Rosario Gomez (ILAE Dominican Republic Chapter), Franz Chaves-Sell (ILAE Costa Rican Chapter), Antonio V. Delgado-Escueta and Diana Kraemer (USA).

During the International Epilepsy Congress, in Singapore on 10th July, 2007 the IBE and the ILAE Latin American Commission organized a session on Complementary and Alternative Therapy for Epilepsy with the participation of Dr Lilia Nunez (Mexico), Alicia Bogacz (Uruguay), Franz Chaves-Sell (Costa Rica) and Marco T Medina (Honduras)

OTHER ACTIVITIES OF THE COMMISSION

1. Epilepsia En Español: The ILAE Commission on Latin American Affairs is supporting this initiative coordinated by Dr. Natalio Fejerman. Two successful editions have being already published in Latin America.

2. Latin American Epilepsy Congresses: The IV Latin American Epilepsy Congress on 6 to 9 September, 2006, in Guatemala City, was organized by ILAE and IBE through the ILAE Commission on Latin American Affairs and the IBE Latin American Affairs. The Co-Chairs of the Organizing International Committee were: Dr Henry Stokes and Dr Martin Brodie. The members of the Scientific Organizing Committee led by the Co-Chairs: Dr Juvenal Gutierrez and Dr Carlos Acevedo, ensured that the scientific content was both of a high caliber and reflective of issues relative to the Latin American region. More than 300 participants from all the Latin American countries attended the congress. On 9 September, 2006 the Latin American Epilepsy Day was also celebrated.

The V Latin American Congress on Epilepsy is going to be held in Montevideo, Uruguay, 5 to 8 November, 2008. The Organizing Committee, including members from ILAE and IBE Latin American Commissions, representatives from the Executive Committees of both ILAE and IBE, as well as members from the local organizing committee, has been working and many advances have already been agreed. The selected Venue is the Radisson Victoria Plaza Hotel. Topics for the main sessions have been agreed, as well as most of those corresponding to Plenary sessions and Discussion groups. Several courses organized by the Latin American Academy of Epilepsy will also be included.

Accomplishments (2006)

1. IV Latin American Epilepsy Congress in Guatemala
2. Promoting the Latin American Epilepsy Academy (ALADE)
3. Establishing a Collaborative work with the North American Commission

Recommendations for Future Work

1. Supporting the Latin American Epilepsy Academy (ALADE) activities
2. Improve the epilepsy care on the Caribbean region

Marco T. Medina
Chair

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