Morbidity and mortality among people living with HIV/AIDS remains unacceptably high in sub-Saharan Africa, largely due to the parallel challenges of poverty and food insecurity. Yet, health professionals are not trained to include sustainable development solutions as part of their armamentarium to address poor HIV health outcomes. The Sustainable Development for HIV Health (SD4H) Training Program provides intensive graduate training for Kenyan PhD and MSc candidates with a focus on improving HIV health outcomes through innovative food security and poverty alleviation interventions. We aspire to create a cadre of graduate trainees who will become the next generation of HIV researchers with transdisciplinary expertise in public health, HIV health, and development sciences in order to help address the vicious cycle of poverty, food insecurity and poor HIV health The SD4H is a consortium among Kenyan and United States (US) institutions including Maseno University (MU), the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), and the University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHI). Strengths and innovations of our program include: 1) A unified consortium that offers synergy by capitalizing upon MU, KEMRI and UCGHI's ability to provide exceptional training and research support; 2) A team with extensive experience in training and building local capacity including the 25 years of highly- successful research and training collaboration between KEMRI and UCSF investigators; 3) Exceptional transdisciplinary team of faculty mentors with expertise in diverse disciplines not typically found in a single training program including: public health, medicine, HIV/AIDS, nursing, economics, agriculture and food security, nutrition, environmental sciences, gender studies, development and strategic studies, and biological and social sciences; 4) A proven mentor training program designed to strengthen mentoring capacity at LMIC institutions; and 5) A team mentoring approach, with a primary mentor (usually from Maseno University) to act as the trainee's supervisor, that enhances and supports transdisciplinary research mentorship to advance careers and scientific discovery. During the five-year program, we will train 4 PhD and 9 Master's students, as well as additional MU students who participate in the annual SD4H workshops and on-line courses, and faculty who attend the mentoring development workshop. PhD and Master's students will receive most of their education at MU, with doctoral students spending a year at UCSF to complete the year-long Advanced Training in Clinical Research certificate, and Masters students taking part in online courses at UCSF and UCGHI. In addition, doctoral students will have the options to spend a quarter at UC Davis or take additional SD4H courses at UCSF. All students will participate in mentored research. Upon completion of the SD4H program, Kenyan scientists will successfully engage in producing evidence-based SD4H research to improve health among HIV-infected and affected populations, will be trained and supported to mentor the next generation of junior scientists in this field, and will play a critical role in policy and community health practices locally, regionally and internationally.

Public Health Relevance

Despite major advances in the care and treatment for people living with HIV (PLHIV), morbidity and mortality among PLHIV remains unacceptably high in sub-Saharan Africa, largely due to the parallel challenges of poverty and food insecurity. The proposed Sustainable Development for HIV Health (SD4H) Training Program aims to train a cadre of interdisciplinary Kenyan PhD and Masters students' at Maseno University who will work at the intersection of sustainable development and health with a focus on improving HIV care, treatment and prevention outcomes. The proposed structure of the program supports young investigators to remain in Kenya because students remain vested and actively engaged in studies and meet the requirements for a degree within their home institution while benefiting from enhancements, i.e. additional courses/certificate offered at participating University of California campuses, full-participation in a SD4H mentored-research experience and a multidisciplinary team of dedicated mentors from Maseno University, the Kenya Medical Research Institute and the UC Global Health Institute.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
International Research Training Grants (D43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Bansal, Geetha Parthasarathy
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University of California San Francisco
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Schools of Medicine
San Francisco
United States
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