The main objective of this planning grant is to develop an application for a physician-scientist training program centered on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission (eMTCT) research at the University of Nairobi. The physician-scientist is the critical link to translation of research innovations to standards of health care provision, however, the University of Nairobi, and most academic institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, lack integrated programs that provide physician-scientist training within current graduate professional training. As a result, few medical specialists trained exclusively in Africa are prepared to conduct research that will inform HIV care, treatment and prevention or have a major impact on healthcare policy and/or program design, performance, scale up and sustainability. This proposal to plan a physician-scientist training program builds on a strong foundation of highly qualified and experienced physician researchers at the University of Nairobi, including many former trainees in the Fogarty-funded University of Washington (UW) AIDS International Research and Training Program (AIRTP). After completing their training, these individuals have matured into independent investigators and made a significant mark on national, regional and global public health policy. These physician-scientists, from the University of Nairobi, led by Professor Ruth Nduati, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Washington led by Dr. Carey Farquhar, propose to consolidate research on eMTCT by developing a program to train specialist physician-scientists (PhD, MMed/MPH, MMed/MSc) who can conduct high-level research, attract research grants and mentor others in research on eMTCT. In order to achieve this goal, the planning grant will: 1) Develop an implementation framework for physician-scientist training through consultative workshops with stakeholders and development of a strategic plan;2) Build the curriculum for physician-scientists training by reviewing existing PhD, MMed, MPH and MSc curriculums and extending them to an integrated curriculum for physician-scientists;3) Establish supervision and mentorship structures for trainee physician-scientist trainnes by identifying suitable supervisors, mentors and research sites. The proposed activities fit into the goal of the Kenya government to eliminate MTCT by 2015 through universal access to comprehensive PMTCT services and will create a model for training physician-scientists that can be replicated in other fields, not only at the University of Nairobi but in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
This planning proposal will lay the groundwork for Professor Ruth Nduati and colleagues at the University of Nairobi to create a physician-scientist training program focused on eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission. The program will train highly qualified physician-scientists to lead basic science, epidemiologic, behavioral and implementation science research teams in Kenya that are responsive to local, national and global needs.