The most effective method to expand the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in global health research and research training for low and middle income country (LMIC) institutions, is to offer and educational program that combines advanced and efficient training in low cost ICT and research methods embedded in a comprehensive practical application where trainees can immediately see the benefits of such technique. Developing a trauma information systems for regions in the world where injury is a the greatest burden of disease as injuries kills more patients than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis all combined, has the extraordinary potential of changing a paradigm in global public health. For this reason the University of Pittsburgh has joined forces to create a team of experts to build eCapacity for trauma information systems and research education (eCATIS). Enhancing eCapacity to develop trauma information technologies for LMICs is a fundamental and critically needed step towards understanding the magnitude of injury and the burden of disease. Such information is pivotal to design and implement public health interventions, allocate resources, and answer research questions relevant to the environment in LMICs. We designed an instructive program, where trainees will have "hands on experience" in developing a TIS according to their own needs while simultaneously using this experience as the case studies to provide them with the fundamentals of ICTs design, requirements, and implementation combined with applied research methods training. This program ensures an optimal balance and an enriching educational experience between didactic and practicum learning opportunities. We will utilize a staged training approach, starting in Colombia (year one) to then progressively engage in a train the trainer curricula and work in concert with trainees from Colombia to transfer knowledge and expand the use of a TIS to a remote site in Paraguay (year two). In the final stage (year three), the trainees are now the trainers and they will replicte the activities in a second remote site (Guatemala) The University of Pittsburgh has an extensive record of international training collaborations in Latin America. This application aims to leverage the research capacity established by our current and former Fogarty International Center research and research training grants through direct links with a D43 "Informatics Training for Global Health (ITGH) in Colombia," and a D43, "International Collaborative Trauma and Injury Research Training Grant". This application is being submitted by a collaboration of investigators from the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.);the University of British Columbia Department of Surgery (Canada);Fundacion Meditech (Neiva, Colombia);Centro de Informatica e Investigacion Clinica [CIIC] (Rosario, Argentina);and Oregon Health &Science University [OHSU] (Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.). Colombia, Paraguay, and Guatemala are the countries targeted for this research training program. An additive benefit of this project will be the delivery of trauma information systems capable of gathering data relevant to the local epidemiology of injury and providing the basis for designing injury prevention initiatives, quality improvement programs and facilitating research endeavors to meet LMICs'most pressing questions regarding trauma/injury care. This information is not currently available in most LMIC trauma centers, and this lack of information represents the main obstacle for comprehensive trauma systems development in LMICs worldwide. The transnational aspects of this proposal are in accordance with one the underlying objectives of this program which is to create, foment and enhance collaborations and networks through electronic communication and data sharing activities for cross training purposes, mutual learning and knowledge advancement.
The devastating effects of injury in LMICs cannot be accurately measured because there is a significant gap in expertise required to create and maintain trauma information systems (TISs) and to design effective mechanisms for systematic injury data collection and analysis. We have assembled an outstanding team of experts completely committed to participation in a comprehensive training program to build eCapacity and expand the use of ICTs in order to educate leaders to design and build their own TIS to enable them to potentially influence health care policy in Latin America and other LMICs across the world. The project could potentially formidably impact public health, as it addresses a major priority according to the 2011 World Health Organization's document on mHealth for development: The opportunity for mobile technology for health care in the developing world. This report calls for leveraging resources for ehealth systems development as well as supporting low cost ICTs to shape emerging health care systems.