The overall goal of this program is to strengthen training and research capacity in malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) at the University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako (USTTB), with a particular focus on operational and implementation research. The ultimate outcome of this training will be to strengthen Mali's capacity to conduct relevant biomedical research and translate the results into successful public health tools and policies. Over the past five years, the Fogarty Global Infectious Diseases Research Training Program has provided support for operational research for malaria prevention in Mali, and the launch of Mali's first Master in Public Health (MPH) and PhD in public health programs at the Department of Public Health (DPH) of USTTB. This renewal application from USTTB and Johns Hopkins University (JHU) aims to build sustainable capacity to address national and regional research needs for prevention and control of infectious diseases, specifically malaria and NTDs. A secondary aim is to continue support for MPH and doctorate public health training in Mali. This Fogarty International Center grant will provide support for 5 new MPH students annually, allowing 20 students to complete an MPH over the 5-year grant period. This includes 4 students from countries in the region that lack formal public health training programs (starting with Guinea). The grant will also support 6 PhD students for a three-year doctorate program in the DPH. Continued support will be provided to MPH and PhD students who have the opportunity to complete their theses in Malian-based NIH-funded research programs. The program will also provide short-term training to junior and mid-career scientists from Mali and neighboring countries to: (1) Increase Malian expertise and enhance regional collaboration in order to combat NTDs (particularly leishmaniasis and filariasis), (2) Increase Malian capacity around malaria prevention and elimination, (3) Deepen expertise among DPH faculty and graduate students around operational and implementation research, particularly as they relate to NTDs and malaria. Short-term course topics include the elimination of malaria and NTDs, operational and implementation research, epidemiology, genomics, vector and transmission, formative research, and behavior change. Two regional NTD workshops will be offered for participants from disease control programs, NGOs, universities, and research institutions. A final component of this training proposal is collaboration between USTTB and JHU faculty and graduate students. Six USTTB PhD students will travel to JHU, where they will take additional courses, and will benefit from exchanges with JHU doctoral students and JHU faculty. Ten USTTB junior faculty will travel to JHU to take courses, observe teaching methods, and develop new course outlines to bring back to USTTB. JHU faculty and graduate students will travel to Mali to provide training to students and faculty, and specifically to support the development of USTTB courses on topics related to operational and implementation research.
This research training program aims to strengthen the capacity of masters and doctoral-level public health training programs in Mali, with focus on operational and implementation research for prevention and control malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This will contribute to provide evidence basis for improving diseases control programs and policies in Mali and the sub-region.
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