The University of Pennsylvania (Penn), in collaboration with the Universidad de San Carlos of Guatemala City (USAC) and Universidad de Francisco Marroqumn (UFM) in Guatemala submit this application to develop an innovative trauma and injury research training program for clinicians and researchers from USAC and UFM. There will be two training pathways. The first, Independent Investigator training, is specifically designed to prepare individuals for academic or research positions in Guatemalan universities, hospitals, and/or government. These individuals will become rigorous, independent investigators able to use the range of approaches available in public health and epidemiology to address important research issues regarding the etiology, prognosis, prevention and early detection, treatment, economics, technology assessment, and decision making with respect to trauma and injury. The second pathway, Associate Investigator training, is designed is to prepare clinicians and research staff at USAC and UFM to serve as collaborators in trauma and injury research and/or policy formulation. Graduates from both pathways will form multidisciplinary trauma and injury research teams and in their home institutions, in order to synergize and support their research efforts. Year one of the two-year Independent Investigator training program will be conducted at Penn. Trainees will matriculate in the Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology or the Master of Public Health degree programs and, among other activities, will take courses in public health, epidemiology, research methods, biostatistics, and injury epidemiology;participate in research conferences focusing on trauma and injury research;and, most importantly, design an independent research project. The second year, to be completed at their home institution, will be devoted to the conduct and completion of the independent research project. Trainees'mentors from Penn will visit during this year to provide on-site guidance. The Associate Investigator pathway will consist of a series of short courses, workshops, and programs taught in Spanish at USAC and UFM and supplemented via live two-way video conferences and web-based programs. Additional matching funds have been committed by the Guatemalan government and Penn. Program strengths: 1) long-standing, collaborative partnerships Penn has developed in Guatemala with USAC and UFM;2) Penn's history of successful research training programs (e.g., a founder of the International Clinical Epidemiology Network);3) comprehensive course offerings available to trauma and injury research trainees at Penn;4) training to provide collaborators and staff for research teams;5) research organizations to which the trainees will be proposed to join;6) matching funds provided by the Guatemalan government and Penn;7) the direct support of the Guatemalan National Commission on Trauma and other public and private entities;and 8) an existing Guatemalan research training program at Penn that, together with the program proposed here, will greatly increase the likelihood of a critical mass of highly trained Guatemalan scientists.
Despite a very large burden of injury and violence, there are major shortages of scientists able to conduct rigorous and collaborative research in trauma and injury in Guatemala. Critical questions of great importance to Guatemala and other developing nations in Latin America and around the world would benefit from a new collaborative research training program in trauma and injury in Guatemala.