October 8th, 2020
Doc. Dr. Rada M. Grubović Rastvorčeva, MD MSci PhD, is a consultant in Transfusion Medicine and Hematology, Chief Medical Officer of the Institute for Transfusion Medicine in Skopje, North Macedonia, President of the Macedonian Society for Transfusion Medicine and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medical Sciences. She is also a national representative in the Expert Committee on Blood Transfusion at the European Directorate for Quality of Medicine (EDQM) – Council of Europe. Dr. Grubovic was a Fulbright alumni – Bone Marrow Transplantation Fellowship at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2010/2011.
“There is a Fulbright family tradition in our family – my mother Prof. Ilinka Drakulevska Grubović, who used to be the Head of the Department of English for Specific Purposes at the Faculty of Philology, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University (and is now retired), was one of the first Fulbrighters in ex-Yugoslavia and Macedonia, in 1970/71 at the University of Pittsburgh, USA and because of that she was declared an honorary citizen of the City of Brunswick, Texas. In addition, the love for medicine is a family tradition. I have always observed my father, Prim. Dr. Milos R. Grubović, (a Transfusion Medicine Consultant and an establisher of voluntary blood donation in our country), and was impressed with his professionalism, humanism and wish to help everyone. This made my path for the future clear, because I realized I wanted to become a medical doctor like my father and a Fulbrighter like my mother“, says Ms. Grubović.
Dr. Grubović is an official representative of the Institute for Transfusion Medicine at the US Embassy Blood and Food drive, an event happening on September 11th every year. In October 2019, Dr. Grubovic, as a President of the Macedonian Society for Transfusion Medicine, organized a very successful International Medical Congress with over 500 participants from all over the world, an event supported by the Macedonian Ministry of Health and the International Society for Transfusion Medicine. She is an author and co-author of over 200 scientific papers and is a member of the Editorial boards of more than 20 international scientific medical journals. It is important to mention that Dr. Grubovic was a Medical Supervisor of the Medical Escorts, a US program in the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Skopje, from May 1999 to September 1999. She was responsible for the safe medical transportation of 25.000 Kosovo refugees from Macedonia to the USA. She was on the first refugee flight to the USA, New Jersey (Fort Dix) and attended a briefing with the First Lady Mrs. Hilary Clinton and the U.S.Ministers at that time.
Dr. Grubovic’s dedicated work is especially significant during the COVID-19 pandemic, and here is what she says about it:
“The health sector and especially the health workers are at the front-lines fighting the coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2 causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), for which there is no potential cure so far, although there are many drugs which are put under investigation. We know from our previous experience with other epidemics that the use of convalescent plasma is helpful. It has especially proven helpful during the epidemics of SARS, MERS and H1N1. Therefore, with the support of our colleagues from the USA, we prepared a protocol for collection and use of the COVID-19 convalescent plasma. This was approved by our regulatory authorities, the European Commission, the ClinicalTrials.gov and WHO. Our aim is mainly to improve the treatment of the hospitalized patients with acute respiratory symptoms caused by the COVID-19 infection. As a Principal Investigator, I am very proud that our clinical trial “Use of COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma in Patients Infected With COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) – Efficacy and Safety” is accepted and published on the ClinicalTrials.gov website https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04397523?cond=covid-19+convalescent+plasma&draw=2&rank=1. It is the first Macedonian study related to COVID-19 published on this US clinical trials site, where there are other studies published by scientists from the USA and 214 other countries.
We expect that the treatment with convalescent plasma will be greatly beneficial for the patients treated from COVID-19 in our country, as well as, in every other hospital in the world. We should be immensely grateful to the convalescent plasma donors so I use this opportunity to thank them for their humanity and to invite new ones to join us in this fight with the coronavirus. The importance of the role that the medical personnel is having in protecting the health of the people is enormous. We hope that the efforts we put in treating the patients will be successful, the number of cured patients will grow and the pandemic will be overcome and stopped completely very soon.“
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