Recent highly publicized disease outbreaks illustrate the need to increase the capacity of the biomedical community to collect, manage and rapidly exchange data that spans basic biology and medicine worldwide. As part of a global strategy to combat epidemics, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), there is an unfulfilled need to develop and support the capacity to train effective, ethical biomedical informatics researchers in the countries most affected. Our proposal addresses this need by leveraging the recently established, bioinformatics training program at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa to revolve towards a Biomedical Informatics program and responds directly to the acute shortage of trained faculty in South Africa. A focused development program will enable experience gained through the long established Biomedical Informatics program at Stanford University to contribute significantly and sustainable towards shortcomings that have been identified by the existing faculty at UWC. This proposal focuses on developing new trainers by three mechanisms: 1) Extend the graduate curriculum with jointly developed and taught short courses from Stanford, 2) develop local teaching talent with support for trainees at UWC, and 3) enrich the research community and develop new curricular matedal in biomedical informatics by supporting Visiting Scholars and students from UWC at Stanford University. High priority projects supported by this program include development of a South African National HIV Database that builds upon an existing NIH funded initiative at UWC to serve the needs of genomicists, epidemiologists and the health care community. Information about HIV genomic variations and patient responses to various antiviral therapies will be collected and new or improved treatments developed as a result. The need for such a database to support the NIH-funded Caprisa project has previously been identified and initial support has been gained through the NIH-funded CAPRISA program (www.caprisa.org).
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