Dr. Juan Cabello is the head of the Pediatric Neurology Training Program at the University of Valparaíso in Chile. After finishing his neurology training, he developed a specialized interest in the area of Inborn Errors of Metabolism and Newborn Screening, and has directed the Laboratory of Genetics and Metabolic Diseases of INTA, University of Chile, a national reference center for such conditions. As President of the Latin American Society for Inborn Errors of Metabolism and Newborn Screening (2013-2015) and member of the International Development Committee of the International Society for Neonatal Screening, Dr. Cabello highlighted the numerous global disparities in access to early diagnosis and prevention of serious sequelae that is possible via newborn screening. During his neurology training, he was a visiting fellow at Boston Children's Hospital and has since developed a training exchange partnership providing both Chilean and American neurology trainees with an international education experience in metabolic diseases that emphasizes the importance of collaboration between neurologists across borders.
Q: During the years you’ve served as faculty member at the University of Valparaiso in Chile, what are some of the most memorable milestones in your career thus far?
I have highly valued the opportunity to meet young doctors every day who are starting their career in Pediatric Neurology and I am honored to be a part of their training journey. I have encouraged trainees to think not just about neurology but also about the ethical dilemmas and public health implications involved in caring for their patients, and each new discussion with them challenges and teaches me in exchange. In addition, I have found that being able to generate bidirectional exchanges of students with other countries allows us to contrast realities, value what is ours, and learn with the goal of continuous improvement.
Q: How do you envision education changing the face of neurology?
Undergraduate and postgraduate education, as well as community education in aspects of pediatric neurology, can completely change the face of neurology. If we remember that first, good nutrition and a good environment for learning and can help our children's brains, we can begin to imagine a better future for all. Neurology education has common aspects globally, but cultural and economic differences should not be ignored. Acknowledging these differences and offering creative solutions should remain a goal in global health efforts.
Q: What are some gaps in the global health efforts against neurological disorders that you think need to be addressed?
I believe that the role of middle-income countries like Chile in Latin America and other geographical areas should be re-evaluated. There is a great opportunity within the global community to share experiences and resources and we are thus failing to take advantage of the collaborative workspace that a global perspective of medicine offers us. By recognizing that there are different countries sharing similar problems, we can attempt to solve some of these common problems with similar solutions. Being able to generate collaborative networks where middle-income countries can be the bridge between low-income and high- income countries in order to spread information, resources and collaboration opportunities, we can establish virtuous networks and end up having a positive impact on a greater number of people and in a more efficient way.
"Being able to generate bidirectional exchanges of students with other countries allows us to contrast realities, value what is ours, and learn with the goal of continuous improvement."