Ten-Day International Teaching Seminar on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention (ISCEP)
Cardiovascular diseases and stroke are the leading cause of death and disability in most countries in the world, as they have been over many decades. To address this global health challenge, the seminars were founded in 1968 by Professors Jeremiah and Rose Stamler and Richard Remington from the US, and Professor Geoffrey Rose from the UK. Initial support was provided by the International Society and Federation of Cardiology (since 1998, World Heart Federation) Council on Epidemiology and Prevention and the Cardiovascular Disease Unit of the World Health Organization in Geneva. From 2008, the sponsor has been the International Society of Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention (ISCEP). The 50th International Seminar was convened in Goa, India, in 2018 (pictured above). Plans are being made for the 51st and beyond.
The main aim of the seminars is to increase the body of people around the world who have the needed skills to carry out epidemiologic studies and to strengthen the efforts to prevent mass cardiovascular disease. The founders recognised the need for training in research, and also the constraints on time and resources limiting the ability of workers in less developed countries to obtain this. They thus developed a ten-day course to provide basic training. To date, some 1,600 physicians and scientists from over 100 nations have been fellows of the seminars, and 50 annual Seminars have now taken place in 40 different countries. The basic training is in fundamental epidemiologic principles and methods and biostatistics with focus and practical examples on cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention, including preventive policy and practice.
The success of the seminars is evidenced by the large numbers of past fellows who are now active in the field, many as prominent leaders of research and public health programs throughout the world. Many of the major achievements in cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention have been made by past fellows who had their first introduction to the area at the seminar. Past fellows have also initiated occasionally recurring national seminars based on the same model in several countries: Brazil, Italy, Japan, Spain, Thailand, and Venezuela. The US Ten-Day Seminar on Epidemiology of Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke is now in its 45th year. All of these programs have expanded the impact of this unique model of health professional training.
A major focus of the seminars is facilitation of international exchange of scientific knowledge and expertise and the fostering of collaborative research work. At each seminar, fellows and faculty discuss research and prevention programmes and learn from different international approaches from communities in all continents. The worldwide INTERSALT Study is an outstanding example of research collaboration spawned by the seminars. The founders of the seminars have accomplished not just the training of an international corps of persons working on the prevention of cardiovascular disease but the building of bridges across countries and cultures through peaceful international scientific cooperation. Many past fellows have stressed that the seminars have been most inspiring not only in terms of research and prevention of cardiovascular disease, but also in terms of career decisions and personal friendships made. We believe very strongly in the need to continue building on these achievements.
This immensely productive and rewarding initiative comes about through the goodwill of all those involved in the organization. The host country supports the costs of local organization, accommodation and board of the participants. The seminar faculty volunteer their efforts for the seminar. The International Society, ISCEP, supports all other academic and organizational aspects of the seminars. For nearly 30 years, the seminar has been led by Darwin Labarthe, MD, PhD, MPH (Northwestern University, Chicago) and Neil Poulter (University College, London), co-directors, and Kay-Tee Khaw (Cambridge University, Cambridge), seminar coordinator.
Northwestern Faculty and Staff
Darwin Labarthe, MD, PhD, MPH; Jeremiah Stamler, MD
International Society for Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Prevention
Labarthe DR, Khaw KT, Thelle D, Poulter N. The Ten-Day International Teaching Seminars on Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Prevention: A 30-year perspective. CVD Prevention 1998; 1:156-163.