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IDASH Fellowship Launches in South America

The IDASH South America fellowship cohort

On June 17, the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) South America Office, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Peru (MINSA), launched the Informatics and Data Science for Health (IDASH) fellowship in South America. The program was first implemented in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia with support from WHO EURO, with the first cohort graduating in April 2024, and adapted to the South American context.

The 12-month training will focus on developing a health workforce that is well-trained in digital health and understands health informatics and data system requirements to support public health functions. Thirty-four fellows from government agencies from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru are together in Lima, Peru, for two weeks for the first in-person workshop.

During the opening ceremony, Peru’s Vice Minister of Health Ricardo Peña Sánchez and Secretary of Government and Digital Transformation César Vílchez Inga reaffirmed the importance of this initiative to support advancing digital strategies for health in Peru, including interoperability of information systems. The development of a skilled workforce in health informatics and data science is also aligned with PAHO’s efforts to advance digital health in the region, as highlighted by Sebastian García, Director of the Evidence and Intelligence for Health Action Department of the Pan American Health Organization (EIH/PAHO) during the opening.

During the second week of the in-person workshop, fellows will be joined by mentors from each participating country. The support from experienced mentors will enhance their learning experience and the application of the knowledge and skills acquired during the program.

Valdirene Montalvão, Information Systems Technician at the Brazilian Ministry of Health, has high expectations for her participation in the program. Through IDASH, “I will be able to learn and expand my skills to contribute more effectively to the process of monitoring, managing and evaluating for public health decision-making,” she says.