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International Partnership for Interdisciplinary Research Training

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The University of Chicago (UC) has supported active clinical and basic research programs as well as community-based research into the epidemiology and socio-cultural factors that contribute to disparities in the incidence and expression of breast cancer in partnership with the University of Ibadan (UI) and the University College Hospital (UCH) for more than a decade. The proposed International Partnership for Interdisciplinary Research Training in Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases and Disorders across the Lifespan program will deepen research methods skills amongst trainees in clinical research and introduce an important research methods dimension consistent with the needs expressed by in country collaborators. The dimension of interest is an interdisciplinary approach, a lateral shift, whereby trainees receive distinct added research training in another health related discipline such as bioethics, biostatistics, behavioral science, cancer biology, clinical pharmacology and pharmacogenetics, economics, demography, epidemiology, health policy, human genetics, immunology, molecular pathology, and the social sciences,. This lateral shift will increase capacity amongst trainees at various career levels to develop relevan hypotheses, plan appropriate study designs, operationalize research findings, nurture collaborations between investigators of different disciplines and in some trainees potentiate considerable shifts in thinking and approaches to preventing and curing the diseases that most affect this region and continent. Prototype trainees would be those who at the end of the program have deepened her/his primary research training in the clinical field they are most familiar with and has leveraged new health related discipline research methods OR one who has shifted to a primary focus on health related discipline with Masters or PhD level training and focusing on a given clinical topic; both with the goal of conducting team based interdisciplinary research that leads to substantive improvements in practical prevention and treatment practices. By consolidating and reorganizing existing research capacity within UI, strategic African-US teams will increasingly become fully operational and expand upon research projects to develop truly shared interdisciplinary programs. Program areas of focus have been selected by the joint Ibadan and Chicago training advisory group, and are particular areas where the UC can provide research support. The training program in Cancer is now fully operational having trained more than 200 Africans in the past ten years and now will advance to train a projected 416 Africans in 1) other non-communicable disorders such as Sickle Cell Disease, Asthma/COPD and Indoor Pollution as well as Women's Health; 2) expand to additional training methodologies and health disciplines such as dentistry, nursing and ophthalmology; 3) expand to other emerging South-South collaborations such as a new Nigeria-Tanzania partnership fostered by UC and 4) expand to other African countries through the African Organization on Research and Training In Cancer and African Society of Human Genetics.
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