Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now the leading cause of death and disability in most low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). Since capacity building in LMICs has primarily focused on communicable diseases, a wider base of research professionals trained in NCDs must be developed. Unfortunately, LMICs in South America have had limited opportunities to secure training activities for young researchers in NCDs. To fill this gap by leveraging existing training initiatives, we propose to develop a plan to train a new cadre of NCD researchers to build sustainable research capacity in Peru, which in the future can serve as a platform to enhance opportunities for the Andean region and other South American countries. This planning grant is developed on the premise of augmenting the reach of the established research and training expertise of the participating institutions. We plan to strengthen and build on previous collaborations among CRONICAS-UPCH (Peru), IECS (Argentina), and HSPH (USA). This triangulation of institutions places the applicant team in a strong position to develop a comprehensive training program for a future announcement (e.g., D43). This proposal will leverage the fruitful, long-lasting collaboration between IECS and HSPH to improve capacity-building in Peru. At this planning phase, our partnership focuses on strengthening the collaborative group and developing new ideas and training methods. We propose at least four online meetings and one in-person 3-day planning workshop. Before these meetings are held, a situational analysis will be conducted to collect information on available resources for NCD research training in Peru and other countries in the region and to conduct interviews with local graduates to understand what skills they consider need to be strengthened. The long-term goal is to expand the availability of training opportunities in the field of NCDs to provide Peruvian and other South American students with the opportunity to study at the graduate level (MSc or PhD) at UPCH, with complementary courses at IECS or HSPH. This planning grant will allow us time to estimate the associated training costs, available options, and anticipate potential obstacles. We will look for available programs at UPCH, IECS, and HSPH in epidemiology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, health economics, public health, and health systems that focus on NCDs. We will list and cross- tabulate the available courses to see which addresses similar topics. Then, we will propose a formal training program including a MSc or PhD program at UPCH, along with non-degree courses at IECS or HSPH. The future training program would encompass three modes of training: in-person, online, and a mix of both. This planning grant will be successful if the following outputs are delivered: i) structure of the training program; ii) criteria for selection of trainees; iii) criteria to assess the development and progress of trainees; iv) criteria to evaluate the training program; and v) outline of the future training grant proposal containing at least the specific aims.

Public Health Relevance

Globally, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death, and 80% occur in LMICs, including those in South America. In this application, we propose to strengthen the research collaboration among CRONICAS-UPCH (Lima, Peru), IECS (Buenos Aires, Argentina), and HSPH (Boston, USA), with a focus on training. In so doing, this planning phase would place our collaboration in a stronger position to develop feasible future training activities to develop highly-trained researchers on NCDs in LMICs.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
International Research Training Planning Grant (D71)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Michels, Kathleen M
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Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia
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Benziger, Catherine P; Zavala-Loayza, José Alfredo; Bernabe-Ortiz, Antonio et al. (2018) Low prevalence of ideal cardiovascular health in Peru. Heart 104:1251-1256