The proposed HIV Comorbidities Research Training (HIV-ComRT) in Ghana builds and expands on our ongoing successful short-term (8 weeks) summer intensive mentored-research training?the Ghana Research Scholar Program?at Yale for trainees from Ghana since 2007.
The aim of the Ghana Research Scholar Program is to build and strengthen biomedical research capacity in Ghana;
this aim dovetails with the overarching aim of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (PAR-19-283; Fogarty HIV Research Training Program for LMIC Institutions). The components and content of the training program were informed by a consultative need assessment with faculty and leadership at the University of Ghana (UG) and other stakeholders in Ghana (Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, and National AIDS Control Program). We will recruit trainees with MD, Master's, or PhD degrees and equip them with theoretical and applied knowledge in research methods, skills in designing and conducting research studies, and life-long career coaching to be successful investigators in HIV-associated comorbidities and coinfections in Ghana. The formal program of each trainee will vary, depending on his/her prior training and current career plans. The predominant site for training, either at UG or Yale, will depend on the needs of the trainee, however, all trainees will be exposed to resources at both institutions. We will provide trainees with: (1) a strong foundation in both research design and analytic techniques appropriate for clinical, translational, and laboratory-based research; (2) the ability to conceptualize and analyze research problems critically and with increasing independence; (3) experience in scientific writing, presenting and publishing research findings; (4) instruction in management of laboratory and clinical projects; and (5) mentorship in research and career development. These will be achieved through three Specific Aims: (1) to provide trainees and other junior faculty at UG with theoretical and applied knowledge in research methods; (2) to equip trainees with research skills through a two-year intensive and mentored postdoctoral research training in HIV; and (3) to establish and maintain a mentorship plan for trainees at UG to become independently funded investigators. During the 5-year grant period, we expect to enroll 14 trainees in advanced degrees (four PhDs and ten Master's (MSc or MPH)) and provide a two-year intensive postdoctoral research training for five postdocs/junior faculty. In addition, about 200 graduate students, postdoc fellows, junior faculty, and research scientists at UG will benefit from the research and career development workshops. The cohort of trainees will have diverse research interests to ensure that we build capacity in team science in executing cross- and inter-disciplinary research in HIV-associated comorbidities and coinfections. The skills that they gain through our program of focused didactic training, interactions with a diverse group of scholars in a multidisciplinary academic community, and a mentored research experience with outstanding scientists (at UG and Yale) will provide them with the tools for successful research careers in HIV-associated comorbidities.

Public Health Relevance

Research is needed to develop effective responses to the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. This grant will allow US scientists to build partnerships with their counterparts in Ghana to train young and emerging scientists to conduct meaningful research in HIV-associated comorbidities (one of the five research priorities of the NIH Office of AIDS Research) spanning basic science, translational, clinical, epidemiology and behavioral research. The program described in this application contains a mix of long-, medium-, and short-term training that will enhance research capacity and promote public health significant research in HIV-associated comorbidities.

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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Yale University
New Haven
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