Emerging infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and Chagas' disease, present major public health problems in resource-limited countries and are an increasing threat/problem in wealthier countries. Effective strategies to diagnose and control these diseases are often not available because of limited research funding, and solutions to these problems often require interdisciplinary approaches between institutions that often do not interact with each other. To begin to address this need, a consortium of universities and organizations in the United States, Peru, and Argentina will establish an Inter-American Research Training Program for Innovative Approaches to Emerging Infectious Diseases. The consortium effectively integrates the four distinct disciplines of public health, science and engineering, social sciences, and medicine to provide interdisciplinary training in innovative approaches to emerging infectious diseases for eight post-doctoral level participants from consortium institutions, with at least six of these participants coming from Lati American partners. Within the program theme of emerging infectious diseases, postdoctoral trainees with backgrounds in engineering, social sciences, medicine, and public health will receive mentored training experiences and work together as a team to identify problems in the diagnosis, management, or control of infectious diseases. Combining their own diverse skill sets and under the direction of mentors from multiple disciplines, they will design and implement a joint research project to solve or mitigate the problem by developing a new device, intervention, or innovative technique. The program will establish two-week core training programs for program participants and other selected post-doctoral level trainees, carried out alternately in New Orleans and Lima, Peru, in research methodology, bioethics and responsible research, and grant-writing skills, along with training in models of interdisciplinary innovations for health such as linking bench science to prototypes, from public health programs to entrepreneurial strategies, pilot projects and scale-up, market-based approaches and marketing, and engaged research with community participants. Combining their own diverse skill sets and under the direction of a Mentoring Committee with multiple disciplines, they will design and implement a joint research project to solve or mitigate the problem by developing a new device, intervention, or innovative technique. In the final stages of the training, postdoctoral trainee teams will test their devices, interventions, or techniques, and research program products with favorable test results will be developed for marketing with the guidance of business and industry consultants. The goal of the program is to build teams of interdisciplinary researchers who can creatively and sustainably address challenges of emerging infectious diseases, such as dengue, Chagas' disease, and tuberculosis, by developing cost-effective tools that can be applied effectively in Latin America and other parts of the developing world.
The main objective of this program is to provide post-doctoral trainees with mentored training experiences and opportunities to work together as a team to identify problems in the diagnosis, management, or control of infectious diseases. Emerging infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria, and Chagas' disease, present major public health problems in resource-limited countries and are an increasing problem in more developed countries. This training program will build teams of interdisciplinary researchers who can creatively and sustainably address the challenges of emerging infectious diseases by developing cost-effective tools that can be applied effectively in Latin America and other parts of the developing world; thus, the proposed program is highly relevant to public health.
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