Responding to Tanzanian national priorities for optimizing the care of persons living with HIV infection, Duke University and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) will develop a Sociobehavioral Sciences (SBS) Research Core at KCMC focused on HIV/AIDS care. SBS research skills are essential for understanding critical issues relating to HIV testing, stigma, linkage and retention in care, treatment adherence, and co-morbidities such as mental illness and substance abuse, which relate strongly to clinical outcomes. The acquisition of these research skills will occur through South-South training opportunities with the University of Cape Town (UCT), and North-South opportunities with Duke. Given the goal of research independence and creation of a regional training facility for the Team by April 2018, we have developed a careful plan for Team composition which emphasizes robust and complementary SBS research skills. Four candidates will begin PhD training in year 1, pursuing expertise in epidemiology/public health, health promotion/behavior, and psychology. Two trainees will also begin Masters'in Medicine training in Psychiatry in year 1. In subsequent years additional Team members will initiate medium- and short-term training to develop expertise in public health aspects of mental illness, point of care diagnostics, nursing, data management and research administration. Strong mentorship will be offered by faculty at Duke and UCT through their expertise and funded research in SBS aspects of HIV infection. The trainees' research will expand existing collaborative research efforts with Duke and develop new collaborations with UCT under the leadership of the newly developed KCMC SBS Research Core Team. Program administration will build upon the past training successes of the KCMC-Duke collaboration, and future success will be ensured through careful communication, rigorous monitoring and evaluation, and accountability to the Training Advisory Committee and an External Advisory Committee.
The proposed training program will create a Sociobehavioral Sciences Research Core Team at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi, Tanzania through a carefully selected portfolio of training opportunities. This Team will study HIV voluntary counseling and testing, linkage and retention in care, adherence to medications, and co- morbidities of mental illness and substance abuse. The knowledge gained from this research will improve public health by informing health care providers and policymakers about best practices in the management of persons living with HIV infection.
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