Outcome of applications to the WSO leadership development program and next steps
In March 2020, the WSO invited applications to the Future Stroke Leaders Program from individuals under the age of 45 with the potential to lead the transformation of stroke prevention, treatment and support at national, regional and global levels. Despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, 113 applications were received by the deadline of 31th of May 2020.
In line with a focus on LMIC participation, there were 23 applicants from Africa, 34 from Asia, 21 from South America, 23 from Europe, 7 from North America and 5 from Australasia. A selection committee composed of Future Stroke Leaders lead Prof Werner Hacke, co-leads Valeria Caso and Christopher Chen together with members Liping Liu, Nijasri Suwanwela, Sheila Martins, Deidre de Silva, Gord Gubitz and Bernard Yan, interviewed all shortlisted applicants. Faced with many more talented and highly qualified candidates than could be admitted, the selection committee took great care to choose those with excellent academic, early professional and personal strengths.
A total of 32 early career clinicians and researchers, evenly divided by gender and geography with a diversity of backgrounds, were admitted to the first WSO Future Leaders Programme. The two- year program will equip them with an in-depth understanding of key challenges in stroke and how these can be addressed within diverse stroke care systems.
Due to the restrictions on travel caused by COVID-19, an on-line program will be developed to replace the five-day program of educational and interactive workshops originally planned for October 2020. The curriculum, which will leverage on the WSO’s World Stroke Academy led by its new Editor-in-Chief Gustavo Saposnik, will span the stroke care continuum from prevention, acute treatment, post-stroke care through to rehabilitation and will support the development and exercise of key skills including research and peer review, writing for publication, care quality improvement tools, multidisciplinary collaboration, project design and management, and stroke advocacy. The first virtual meeting with the participants of the program and mentors will take place in November 2020. In 2021, seed-funded practical projects supported by WSO mentors will commence, culminating in presentation of the results at the World Stroke Congress in Singapore 2022.
Achieving our vision of a life free from stroke is a task that WSO cannot achieve alone. We are committed to building our partnerships at the global, regional and national level to scale up and deliver improvements in prevention, treatment and support to reduce the burden of stroke.