Zambian laboratorians being mentored / Photo by ASM
Pettigrove (center) assisting Namibian laboratorians on the microscope / Photo by ASM
Baboolal (far right) sorting supplies with Nigerian laboratorians / Photo by ASM
Stories from the Field
"Be ready for an experience you will remember the rest of your life!"
ASM members have an opportunity to serve the global community as a consultant for the ASM Global Public Health Programs (GPHP). ASM empowers microbial scientists to make the world a better place using One Health approaches. By deploying the expertise of ASM members, we help governments, healthcare systems, educational institutions, and other partners to achieve positive public health outcomes for the populations they serve. We build sustainable scientific capacity and increase capability in the microbial sciences across the globe.
ASM consultants come from varied microbiological backgrounds and carry out technical assistance requests based on workplans tailored by the funder and ASM staff. These technical assistance requests, aimed at accomplishing a country's long-term strategy.
Consultant Shirematee Baboolal of Trinidad and Tobago says, "the reward of learning and sharing what you know is a very great feeling." Baboolal supported the following countries: Guyana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Mozambique, and Tanzania. All consultants share this universal desire to serve others.
Consultant Mark Pettigrove of the United States also believes his work is "very fulfilling." "The biggest reward is when your recommendations create a noticeable, immediate improvement in the work setting," he states. Pettigrove has completed one assignment for in Namibia and Ukraine.
Consultant assignments can range in length from one week to three months, and consultants are expected to encounter many challenges while on assignment such as limited electricity or the lack of (or expired) laboratory supplies. These challenges are addressed together with ASM staff and funder to seek solutions. It is important for consultants to be well-prepared and ready to execute actions to achieve the assignments goals.
Skills important for consultants to possess include a special awareness to cultural sensitivity and the ability to share knowledge with peers - even in challenging situations. Baboolal and Pettigrove both admit that patience is perhaps the most important skill required of a consultant.
ASM members can apply for consultancies via a database on LabCap.org; ASM staff then matches incoming technical assistance requests with applicant backgrounds. All fields of expertise and backgrounds are welcome to apply, and as Pettigrove advises, "be ready for an experience you will remember the rest of your life!"