This application is in response to the reissue of RFA Number RFA-TW-06-002 and is for continuation of activities commenced with a planning grant resulting from funding in response to the initial issue. The planning grant has funded collaborations between UAB and the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. The groups undertaking this program have created and operated a training activity that is both broad and deep. Broad in terms of program content, which has been expanded to include most major non-communicable diseases, and in terms of the types of training offered, which includes short-term training in the US, a national seminar involving trainees from throughout India, intensive training sessions for highly selected trainees and workshops, video conferences and special courses for MDRF faculty and staff. Deep in the sense of a focus on diabetes and on long-term training for selected MDRF staff, which is done in India rather than in the US. Together these activities have facilitated the training of numerous research scientist and development of their research programs. Importantly, we created the Indian Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Network (INN) as a formal entity to facilitate the overall attainment of our goals. Trainees involved to date have completed PhDs or are working toward completing them in their own country and some have assumed key leadership positions in MDRF. We propose to continue and expand these activities, and continue to draw on the extensive training expertise and resources of both UAB and MDRF, an outstanding research organization in Chennai. Training content will include research methods, background on NCDs, and methods to enhance research infrastructure, such as data management, sample handling systems and study operations. For the most part, we plan to conduct the training in India where it can be done in the context of the research to which the training applies and allows for a smooth transition into research programs, with immediate impacts on their public health system. We plan to continue the annual national seminars for trainees from throughout India using Indian and US faculty, special workshops for MDRF faculty and staff, intensive training sessions for selected trainees. We expect also to enhance the activities of the INN so that it can help facilitate the broader establishment of training opportunities and activities. We will expand our innovative approach to using video conferences for research seminars and research planning so that it includes two-four other sites in India and to otherwise further enhance MDRF as a center for training. We also propose to train the trainers to help develop faculty that can conduct workshops for other institutes in India. Our overall goal is to improve, and create where necessary, the clinical research training required to conduct research and prevention programs to help ward off the impending epidemic of diabetes and other NCDs in India.
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