The University of Pennsylvania (Penn), in collaboration with the University of Botswana and the Ministry of Health, submits this application to train a small cadre of Batswana health professionals in human subject research with a focus on injury and trauma science. This program will act as a catalytic agent to establish an extended research group in Botswana to address some of its pressing injury, violence, and trauma care problems. This proposal includes a close working relationship with the large Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Penn, the CDC-funded Penn Injury Science Center, and the D43 training programs currently running at Penn, which will enable the new injury research unit in Botswana to function at a highly professional level from its establishment. Training. The training will have two pathways. (1) Independent Investigator training. Batswana trainees will enroll in Penn's Master of Science, either in Clinical Epidemiology (MSCE) or in Health Policy Research (MSHP), two-year programs, of which the first year will be spent on coursework at Penn and the second year on a research project in Botswana. The program aims to take two trainees annually, for a total of 8 trainees at the end of the 5-year program. These trainees will form the core of an extended research group in Botswana. (2) Associate Investigator training. This pathway will provide a series of 1- to 5-day modules to be conducted in Botswana, for health administrators, health clinicians, criminal justice professionals, and research coordinators. These modules will empower Associate Investigators to collaborate in future research projects. Multidisciplinary injury science. Within the two Masters programs, trainees will focus on injury science, to address what our collaborators in Botswana have identified as the most pressing challenges in emergency medicine and trauma care, community and domestic violence, and road traffic collision that are top priorities to address. The injury science trainees will have access to more 50 elective courses spread among the 12 Schools at Penn; the responsible faculty will provide a robust multidisciplinary orientation. Institutional participation. The proposed training program will involve three key institutions in Botswana: the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Botswana, the Ministry of Health of Botswana, and the Botswana-UPenn Partnership. Upon completion of training, Independent Investigators will take positions at either the University of Botswana or the Ministry of Health, where they will be guaranteed supported time to conduct research projects, and will form the nucleus of an extended group dedicated to research on injury and trauma care, violence and injury prevention, and health policy development.
Despite a very large burden of injury and violence, there are major shortages of scientists able to conduct rigorous and collaborative research in trauma and injury in Botswana. Critical questions of great importance to Botswana and other developing nations in southern Saharan Africa and around the world would benefit from a new collaborative research training program in trauma and injury in Botswana.