The inaugural lecture with Dr. Robert P. Lennon, MD, JD Associate Professor at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), who is the first Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award Medical Sciences at USP to teach and develop research at the Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP), took place on November 25, 2022, in the Hall of Acts.

Prof. Robert Lennon said that he hopes that FMUSP academics of all levels will be benefit from Fulbright's work, whether through the international cooperation agreement established between Penn State and FMUSP, or the FAPESP/Fulbright scholarship, or collaboration in project “Telehealth as a platform to develop a Single Health Study in remote communities”, or even, for other activities he is involved in as a research fellow at the Faculty of Medicine.

During the conference, Dr. Matheus Polly, preceptor of the Infectology Program at Infectious and Parasitic Diseases Department at FMSUP, said that the objective of the project is “to create a platform for the acquisition of demographic, epidemiological data and other markers of human, environmental and animal health for the promotion of associated health to the concept of One Health. Studying this population gives the possibility to evaluate unique variables in controlled villages and with little interference from external and non-measurable factors”. He also added that, “through this initiative, we seek to unite the efforts of different teams and specialties for the development of research and assistance”.

Prof. Robert Lennon said that the next phase of integration of the One Health Study and telehealth will be the FMUSP Health Journey, to be held in June 2023, in remote riverside communities. Where faculty and students can join to gain hands-on experience or engage in research grants. The call for new members was announced at this event.

The doctor Matheus Polly stated that environmental and biodiversity factors act directly on biopsychosocial development. Therefore, the single health approach allows human health to be fully assessed. “For this, the participation of multidisciplinary teams, with doctors, veterinarians, biologists, anthropologists and other professionals is essential for the development of complete projects. The work of several centers, including international ones, allows for a more complete collection of data and also analyzes with different techniques in different prisms”, he said.

The Fulbright is the first inter-agency award for telehealth work and the One Health Study, which resulted in a formal Memorandum of Understanding between Penn State and USP. This arrangement allows FMUSP students and residents to complete research electives at Penn State, and vice versa. “The first students from Penn State arrived in June 2022. We expect the first students from USP to come to Penn State in 2023”, expressed Prof. Robert Lennon.

From this work, the FAPESP/Fulbright scholarship, with a duration of 5 years, will be claimed to include the cost of interinstitutional learning, such as travel and accommodation expenses for FMUSP researchers who will go to Penn State, and formal training at One Health. These students, researchers, and professors will be able to actively pursue specific research questions within the larger fellowship. “In addition, the clinical research training that we provide in the context of One Health can be used for other purposes. “The great ambition of the general project is not only to produce a huge bank of information, but from which we can better understand the relationship between the environment and human health, and also to produce a culture of clinical knowledge among researchers that helps to expand research in the FMUSP”, declared Prof. Robert Lennon.

Other Fulbright Award-related initiatives

The Fulbright award also comprises the qualitative analysis project of racial perceptions of health professionals in Brazil and the United States, with the active involvement of FMUSP professors and students. The aim is to gain a better understanding of how race impacts healthcare professionals both in their professional experience and in the care provided.

And the first assessment of Moral Injury as a cause of suffering for health workers in Brazil will also be completed. FMUSP students and professors are involved in this study, which aims to describe the prevalence of Burnout Syndrome, moral damage, depression and anxiety.