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VIGH awarded $3 million for building research capacity in Nigeria and Mozambique

Jun. 9, 2020, 3:10 PM


by Kristin Centers

Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) has received a new research training grant and a renewal for an existing training program from the Fogarty International Center (FIC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build HIV-focused research capacity with key partners in Nigeria and Mozambique.

One of the $1.5 million grants will establish The Vanderbilt-Nigeria Building Research Capacity in HIV/Non-communicable Diseases (V-BRCH) Program to build capacity of Nigerian investigators to successfully initiate and implement high-quality clinical trials in HIV-associated non-communicable diseases.

Muktar Aliyu, MD, DrPH

The project builds upon longstanding and highly successful collaborations between two leading research institutions in Nigeria and the United States — Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. V-BRCH will be led by Muktar Aliyu, MD, DrPH, professor of Health Policy and Medicine and associate director for research for VIGH, William Wester, MD, MPH, professor of Medicine at VUMC, and Mahmoud Sani, MBBS, PhD, professor of Medicine and Dean of Clinical Sciences at Bayero University Nigeria and Consultant Cardiologist at AKTH.

The program will accept eight junior faculty fellows from AKTH, provide competitive seed grants to 10 mentor-mentee teams, and fund 10 physicians to receive Master of Public Health degrees from Bayero University Kano or Master of Science in Clinical Investigation degrees from Vanderbilt, in addition to providing training for AKTH research support staff.

William Wester, MD, MPH

Program participants will have the opportunity to develop expertise in clinical trials methodology, grant writing and HIV-associated non-communicable diseases epidemiology.

Other program components include:

  • Continuous mentoring through paired mentoring arrangements, virtual meetings, and career development seminars
  • Opportunities to participate in the Vanderbilt Institute for Research Development and Ethics (“VIRDE”) program at VUMC, transitioning to an AKTH-based program in later years
  • On-site workshops in Nigeria
  • Leveraging training activities conducted by other FIC-funded training programs in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa (South-South collaborative opportunities)

The second grant renews the UEM Partnership for Research in Implementation Science in Mozambique (PRISM) program. The five-year, $1.5 million grant from FIC supports a partnership between VIGH and University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Mozambique to build upon the successes of the first five years and continue to build research capacity and conduct HIV-focused implementation science research at UEM.

Troy Moon, MD, MPH

The program is beginning to achieve a critical mass of investigators and will continue to train the next generation of Mozambican researchers, said Troy Moon, MD, MPH, associate professor of Pediatrics at VUMC, who leads PRISM and directs several other HIV-related grants in Mozambique. Mohsin Sidat, MD, MSc, PhD, former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at University Eduardo Mondlane co-directs the program and serves as director of the newly created UEM Implementation Science Unit.

Established in 2015, PRISM’s partnership model set out to increase the pool of health professionals with the requisite methodological skills in implementation science focused on HIV/AIDS to improve health service delivery and contribute to medical advancements. Coupled with enhanced research capacity, the program bolstered existing graduate education programs and graduate clinical training.

PRISM supported three MPH/MSc graduates from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, two from Federal University of São Paulo, and supported two UEM faculty fellowships. Program faculty provided mentored thesis research to masters and doctoral scholars. Faculty from partner institutions also attended VIRDE, an annual one-month intensive training on research ethics and grant writing held at VIGH in Nashville.

UEM established its Implementation Science Unit in 2019 to support students and faculty and serves as a hub for implementation science research among regional partners. Working with Vanderbilt’s Center for Clinical Quality and Implementation Research, as well as the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR), the unit focuses on development of robust implementation science materials and curriculum.

Historically, PRISM facilitated short-medium training courses and attendance for more than 175 trainees covering a range of topics including: implementation science research methods, quality improvement, biostatistics, mentorship, REDCap data management, scientific writing, grant writing and grant management. The grant renewal will now focus on enhancing a doctorate level program at UEM to include a sandwich program with short-term residencies at Vanderbilt while continuing to provide vast training opportunities in the area of Implementation Science as it relates to HIV care, treatment and prevention.

The two grants — 2D43TW009745-07 and 1D43TW011544-01 — are aligned with goals of the Fogarty HIV Research Training Program for Low-and Middle-Income Country Institutions. Both programs are designed to develop and strengthen the scientific leadership and expertise needed for research at eligible LMIC institutions.

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