IHMT consists of a scientific-pedagogical structure based on specialized scientific areas called Teaching and Research Units.
Presently, there are four Teaching and Research Units operating at IHMT – Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology, Medical Parasitology, International Public Health and Biostatistics – and a Common Interest Service that provides support to these units.
The mission of the Teaching and Research Unit on Tropical Medicine consists of, within the field of Medicine and Tropical Pathology, developing and implementing post-graduate education and training programs, developing and implementing biomedical research projects, ensuring the provision of specialized medical services to the community and participating in cooperative activities in the field of health, with emphasis on Lusophone countries.
This Unit develops its activities in three main areas:
- Education: promotion of postgraduate level training actions in the field of Medicine and Tropical Pathology, aimed at health professionals, to enable them to carry out their activities in the context of health services, in education and biomedical research. Mostly structured as part of their Master’s and PhD courses, these activities also include regular short-term and specialized courses, theoretical training and theoretical-practical activities elaborate on request.
- Research: development of scientific research activities within the framework of Tropical Medicine and Pathology, preferably with an applied and translational character, in collaboration with national and international entities.
- Care delivery and expert advice: through the Tropical Medicine Consultation, preserving it as the reference consultation in Portugal for clinical problems related to tropical diseases, travel and migration and in close collaboration with the other Units. The Unit of Tropical Medicine also provides cooperation activities in the field of Medicine and Tropical Pathology, especially in Portuguese-speaking world.
José Maria Marcelino
The Medical Microbiology Unit is structured in different working groups that develop their activities in the three major areas of microbiology (bacteriology, mycology and virology). Contains in its functional matrix organization the organization and delivery of pre and postgraduate education and training programs, the implementation of research projects in the field of biomedical sciences, particularly in medical microbiology, the provision of specialized services to the community and the engagement in cooperative activities, with special emphasis on African Portuguese-speaking countries.
The Medical Microbiology Unit contributes to pre and post-graduate education programs and to the progress of scientific research in the major areas of bacteriology, mycology and medical virology, particularly in specialized fields of tuberculosis and other mycobacterial infections, sexually transmitted diseases, including infection with the human immunodeficiency virus, opportunistic microbial diseases, zoonotic and vector-borne diseases and resistance to antimicrobial and antiviral chemotherapeutic agents.
Its capabilities (human and knowledge resources) are also applied in training activities, including participation in intra and inter-institutional cooperation activities, especially in the Portuguese-speaking world.
The provision of specialized services to the community, particularly the execution of clinical analysis, often in a unique way in Portugal, is also one of its benchmarks.
An example is the leptospirosis’ diagnosis laboratory that it is a reference laboratory in Portugal, in accordance with the guidelines of the International Leptospirosis Society (ILS) / World Health Organization.
A. Paulo Almeida
The Medical Parasitology Unit promotes the study of diseases caused by worms and its intermediate hosts, the molluscs (intestinal parasites, among others), the protozoa that causes disease to humans as well as animals (eg.: malaria and leishmaniasis) and their insect vectors such as mosquitoes and sandflies. In these areas, the UEIPM develops unique scientific research activities in the country.
The general objective of this Unit is the study of parasitic diseases in Portugal and internationally, with emphasis on Portuguese-speaking countries (CPLP), in order to contribute to its control.
The Unit aims at:
- Developing postgraduate teaching and advanced training of human resources (masters and doctoral programs, courses and graduate internships, expertise in the field of Biomedical Sciences and technical training in the field of Parasitology).
- Developing research on the agents, and their respective hosts/vectors, regarding diseases transmitted by arthropods and molluscs, including most importantly malaria, leishmaniasis, the tripanossomoses (Chagas disease and sleeping sickness), schistosomiasis and lymphatic filariasis, which, taken together, are the main causes of mortality and morbidity by parasitic infections globally. The Unit also develops lines of research in diseases whose importance is increasing in the context of neglected tropical diseases (geo-helminths), emerging / re-emerging infections (babesiosis, dengue fever vectors and West Nile Fever), opportunistic infections (toxoplasmosis, microsporidiosis, pneumocystosis), and intestinal protozoa infections (giardiasis and amebiasis).
- Providing support and specialized services to the community, whether medical tests for laboratory diagnostics or consulting and intra- and inter-institutional cooperation activities, monitoring studies, studies of environmental impact, control measures proposals and links with the industry.
All of these aspects include research on: parasite-host interaction, epidemiology, immunology, bio-ecology and population genetics, diagnosis, pharmacotherapy (drug-resistance, new therapeutic targets and new anti-parasitic drugs), aiming at prevention and control.
The connection to the industry and the inclusion of new aspects in accordance with the funding agencies will always be a priority for the Unit, which includes professors and researchers from different backgrounds and specializations that operate in a cohesive and multidisciplinary way, in an intra- and inter-institutional collaborative context, as well as through international networks.
This Teaching and Research Unit develops activities of excellence in the areas of health policies and strategies, health care systems, human resources for health, health of migrants and health training. It is guided by values of equity, social justice and solidarity, efficiency and quality principles. It combines methodological skills of qualitative and quantitative analysis. It uses the capabilities of IHMT’s biomedical Units, to develop synergies leading to methodological approaches that integrate the population and systems perspective with the laboratory perspective. Its activities have been developed with a focus on Poorest Countries in general and in Portugal, as well as with other Portuguese-speaking communities (CPLP).
The status of World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Health Workforce Policy and Planning has been assigned to this Unit between November, 2011 and November, 2015. In this context, the Unit contributes to affirm the image of the IHMT as a reference in the field of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in Portugal and within the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries.
This Unit develops teaching, research, cooperation and provide services in strategic areas of health systems and services (governance, health care networks and health human resources); Population mobility and migration; health training in Portuguese; health research methodologies; and research on HIV / AIDS.
- Education: aims to develop the teaching excellence in the field of International Public Health and Biostatistics, promoting interdisciplinary training of health professionals and professionals of the social sector who have an interest in health issues, international health and development. Courses include masters and doctoral programs, regular courses of shorter duration and other training activities designed on request. Teaching activities, in addition to the training of professionals, are often aimed at strengthening training institutions and supporting the development. The Unit also develops long-distance educational programs, with use of information technologies in order to promote the dissemination of knowledge beyond borders, especially in CPLP countries.
- Research: the Unit develops work on a multidisciplinary perspective. In order to promote excellence in research and development in the field of International Public Health, members participate actively in different networks involving research groups / international and national consortia. The produced knowledge helps support the design of health policies that maximize the health gains of target populations through the production of evidence to support decision making. Also contributes to the development of specific interventions adjusted to the needs of populations in order to improve their health status.
Cooperation: develops collaborations with key institutions involved in public health in PALOP and CPLP, as well as educational projects and relevant research to support the development and strengthening of local institutions, in close coordination with the IHMT’s cooperation office. The cooperation with these countries is developed through work with: a) community groups needing planning, managing and nalysis of health services support, such as groups afflicted by diseases and/or other vulnerable groups; b) institutions and individuals related to local governments; c) support networks for international development, such as networks of NGOs, UN agencies and professional associations.
The Unit also responds to advice/consultancy requests (technical and scientific support), which contribute to strengthening the main aspects of the Unit’s mission.
Maria Odete Afonso
The Common Interest Service provides multiple support services to the cientific activities of the four Teaching ans Research Units. The Common Interest Service is responsible for managing the following activities/services: