Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Africa, accounting for an estimated 80% of the mortality and morbidity. In Ghana, the incidence of hypertension, diabetes and stroke-related mortality has increased tremendously in the past decade. It is estimated that the scant resources in Ghana and other Sub- Saharan African (SSA) countries would be depleted by the disability from cardiovascular-related complications in the next decade if this epidemic go unabated. Thus, building capacity in cardiovascular risk reduction in Ghana is a priority that is both critical and urgent. There is a need for research training targeted at the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hypertension, diabetes, stroke and chronic kidney disease. The proposed Cardiovascular Research Training (CaRT) Institute is a collaborative training program between New York University (School of Medicine, College of Nursing and Dentistry, Wagner School of Public Policy, and Global Public Health Program) and the University of Ghana (College of Health Sciences, Noguchi Medical Research Institute and School of Public Health). The program will have two tracks - a Health Services Research (HRS) track and a Patient-Oriented Research (POR) track. Trainees for the HSR track will be selected from the pool of MPH/PhD students with diverse background (nurses, physicians, pharmacists, health policy analysts), who matriculated into the public health program at the University of Ghana School of Public Health. Trainees for the POR track will be chosen from a pool of highly motivated physicians who are about to embark on their postgraduate studies in internal medicine, cardiology, nephrology, neurology or endocrinology. The unifying theme of both tracks is that the trainees express interest in cardiovascular research. Regardless of track, selected trainees will possess the skills to conduct methodologically and scientifically rigorous research with the ultimate goal of improving cardiovascular health in Ghana and SSA. The training will occur primarily at the University of Ghana. Our deliberate strategy of providing the training in Ghana rather than the United States is to mitigate the risk of "brain drain" that is often inherent in sending African scholars abroad for training. Our long-term goal is to produce a sustainable network of individuals who are exceedingly well trained in various aspects of cardiovascular research, and poised to assume leadership roles in academic cardiovascular medicine in Ghana and SSA.
Our initiative will address a critical deficiency of scientists committed to career in cardiovascular research. Successful completion of CaRT will lead to the establishment of a sustainable cardiovascular research capacity in Ghana, and the provision of a steady flow of innovative and contextualized cardiovascular research projects targeted at hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and stroke prevention. At the end of the funding period, we will establish of a network of 40 investigators with expertise in cardiovascular research, and we expect to have developed training and mentoring curriculum that can be replicated in a variety of low- resource settings in SSA.
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