This application, "Optimizing HIV Prevention in Ethiopia through Implementation Science," proposes to create and strengthen research teams capable of conducting implementation research at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia (AAU) College of Health Sciences, through collaboration with a Johns Hopkins University training group. It will focus on prevention of HIV, in particular on optimizing prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and on treatment as prevention (TasP). Our proposed research training program addresses multiple areas prioritized by NIH in its FY 2012 strategic plan. PMTCT is a current priority in Ethiopia and TasP is expected to be a focus of the country's attention in the near future. The proposal is responsive to institutional needs, building upon existing capacity, leveraging other ongoing training infrastructure and filling a methodologic gap critical not only to addressing HIV prevention issues but other public health challenges as well. It builds upon a long standing collaboration between AAU and JHU that includes HIV research, PEPFAR-supported HIV program implementation, prior Fogarty supported training and the Medical Education Partnership Initiative. We are now proposing a program composed of advanced specialized training for 3 mid-level AAU faculty interested in implementation research, and a 2 year didactic and research training curriculum for 8 post-doctoral junior faculty. Training tracks will provide 4 possible areas of focus: bioethics, health services research, quantitative and qualitative research methods. Didactic training will be include a combination of online and Baltimore-based JH Bloomberg School of Public Health courses and supplemented by coursework taught in Ethiopia and an ongoing videoconference-based seminar. Trained mid- level AAU faculty will assist JHU faculty in delivering courses in future years. The junior trainees will develop and undertake implementation research addressing an issue of importance to prevention of HIV and graduates of the program will serve as mentors to more junior trainees. Evaluation metrics will include trainee scientific output (publications, grant submissions, presentations at scientific meetings), in particular any that include an interdisciplinary approach and indicators of trainee satisfaction and perceived benefit of the program. This program will create a cadre of well-trained interdisciplinary researchers focusing on HIV prevention, a priority for both the institution and the National HIV program, whose specific research skills will be crucial in identifying means of optimally implementing current and future HIV prevention strategies.
Though there are effective ways to prevent HIV, in many cases they are not being used. This training grant to be undertaken as a collaboration between Johns Hopkins and Addis Ababa Universities, will build a cadre of skilled HIV researchers focusing their work on identifying ways to improve prevention of HIV in Ethiopia.