The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Cambodia increased sharply in the 1990s, reaching upwards of 40% among high-risk populations.2 While the prevalence rate declined to approximately 0.9% by 2006, it remains inflated among high-risk groups.3 In the wake of the epidemic, the Cambodian government initiated national data collection and disease monitoring efforts that have produced rich, longitudinal data from HIV/AIDS treatment and surveillance programs. However, a shortage of professionals trained to manage and interpret these types of data, persists. The UCLA Department of Epidemiology and the Cambodian University of Health Sciences (UHS) propose a program to train a cohort of Cambodian public health professionals in the management, analysis and evaluation of secondary data. Trainees will have two tracks from which to choose. The UCLA MS/MPH track requires coursework in epidemiologic methods and principles, biostatistics, data management, behavioral sciences and HIV/AIDS epidemiology. This track also requires completion of a master's project that must be relevant for HIV/AIDS policy development in Cambodia. The UCLA PhD track requires trainees complete core courses in epidemiology as well as courses in logic, causation and probability, the biology of HIV/AIDS, graduate statistics and pass a qualifying exam. Trainees then carry out a dissertation in Cambodia that is relevant to HIV/AIDS policy. The overall program will be assessed based on trainee progress and matriculation rates;thesis/dissertation quality, policy relevance and the proportion published;the program's impact on UHS recruitment rates and trainee placement in national HIV/AIDS monitoring and data analysis roles.
The National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STDs (NCHADS) in Cambodia has created databases of longitudinal HIV/AIDS, STI and behavioral data, opportunistic infections data, antiretroviral therapy and voluntary HIV counseling and testing behaviors. Cambodia seeks to integrate these databases to better facilitate longitudinal tracking and aggregate reporting, however a dearth of professionals skilled in data management, analysis and interpretation challenges this progress. The UCLA Department of Epidemiology and the Cambodian University of Health Sciences (UHS) propose to train a cohort of health professionals in the management and use of large, repeated-measures datasets to prepare and enable these professionals to better identify critical health trends, epidemiologic shifts and use their knowledge to inform HIV/AIDS policies and program improvements.