This will be accomplished over a 3 year span by developing a high level of e-learning expertise in a team that will serve as a nucleus for research-focused learning at their institutions and who can train others in these techniques. Tulane SPHTM, IECS and UPCH all have a technical and computing foundation for research and training;however each has different expertise, capabilities, and focus that are complementary to one another. We propose to build upon existing research collaborations and Fogarty Foundation-supported training programs to enhance e-capacity for teaching research methodology and telediagnostic skills, thereby expanding the e-learning repertoire of teaching tools and methods. Two pilot projects will be conducted that respond to the training needs of ongoing research. In "Demonstration Project 1: In-Service Training for Epidemiological Research Skills and Methods", Tulane and IECS will work together to enhance the capacity at IECS for distance education in-service training for research staff from several projects, focusing on training for nurses and health care workers in specific research skills and practices. Program content will include epidemiological research methods and skills to standardize data collection (e.g., questionnaires, blood pressure readings, completion of case report forms), data entry and protocol-specific activities. The second pilot will concentrate on training to use telediagnostic tools from a distance and methods to incorporate smart phones and the internet to relay laboratory data. In "Demonstration Project 2: Research Training in Applied Telediagnostics for Tuberculosis in Peru" investigators from Tulane and UPCH build on prior technological achievements by refining cell phone-based telemedicine platforms to expand tuberculosis culture capability to outlying areas in Peru. These demonstration projects will build upon existing work to build eCapacity by developing prototypes of integrated technology and provide a platform for expanding and disseminate this technology in a way that directly leads to new research products. After establishing a telediagnositics system in two high volume TB diagnostics labs in cities outside of Lima, we will implement and refine a proof of concept model and develop an online training program that will benefit TB control programs worldwide. The design and technical support for each type of training piloted will be shared among the partners, expanding capacity to deliver and evaluate the effectiveness of training at a distance using Information and Communication Technology at all three institutions.
This e-capacity research training program builds on an existing partnership between the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (SPHTM) and two institutions in Latin America, to build research training capacity for staff who are dispersed in multiple locations. This will be accomplished over a 3 year span by developing a high level of e-learning expertise in a team that will serve as a nucleus for research-focused training at their institutions, thereby expanding public health training capacity and extending the potential target audiences for public health training.