The Vanderbilt-Nigeria Building Research Capacity in HIV/Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) (`V-BRCH') program is a coordinated approach to build the capacity of Nigerian investigators to successfully initiate and implement high-quality clinical trials in HIV-associated NCDs. V-BRCH builds upon long-standing and highly successful collaborations between two leading research institutions in Nigeria and the United States - Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. V-BRCH will solidify an atmosphere of continuous mentoring and skills acquisition for AKTH physician faculty in conducting clinical trials in HIV- associated NCDs via short- and medium- term learning opportunities, paired mentoring arrangements and mentored research projects (Aim 1). We will select three AKTH faculty members per year to attend the highly effective annual 1-month long Vanderbilt Institute for Research Development and Ethics (?VIRDE?) faculty enrichment program in Nashville. We will offer two 2-week, on-site workshops in Nigeria every year for physicians and research staff on HIV-associated NCD epidemiology, clinical trials methodology, and grant writing. We will identify research-oriented junior faculty staff (n=8) at AKTH for focused training in key areas of need and in clinical trials administration and regulatory oversight. Scholars will share best practices and lessons learned through mentoring panels, regular `Works in Progress' meetings, and monthly career development seminars. Competitive seed grants will be provided to mentor-mentee teams (n=10) to promote targeted in-country pilot studies focused on HIV-associated NCDs. For long-term training (Aim 2), we will support enhanced Master of Public Health (MPH) training at Bayero University/AKTH in Nigeria (total: 8 physicians) and Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) at Vanderbilt for 2 Nigerian physician scientists. We will build institutional capacity in HIV-associated NCD clinical trials research via short-term regional courses, staff development workshops and MPH curriculum refinement (Aim 3). To take advantage of complementary courses, peer-to-peer group learning and research networking opportunities, V-BRCH will leverage training activities conducted by other FIC-funded training programs in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa (South-South collaborative opportunities). V-BRCH represents the culmination of years of collaboration in research and training between Vanderbilt and AKTH and will lay the foundation for sustainable development of clinical trials research focused on HIV-associated NCDs in Nigeria.

Public Health Relevance

As Africa's most populous country, Nigeria is one of six nations facing the threats of high HIV burden, low combination antiretroviral treatment (ART) coverage, and slow decline in new HIV infections. While ART programs have turned HIV into a chronic condition, morbidity from HIV-associated NCDs is becoming more common as HIV-infected individuals live longer, encumbering an already troubled and undercapacitated health system and emphasizing the need to develop clinical trial research capacity to generate evidence to tackle the burden of HIV and NCDs in Nigeria. In response to this need, the Vanderbilt-Nigeria Building Research Capacity in HIV/Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) (`V-BRCH') program harnesses the longstanding and highly successful research partnership between Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health to establish a research and training platform that will create a cohort of highly skilled Nigerian investigators with the capacity to lead independent clinical trials research focused on the intersection of HIV and NCDs.

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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Vanderbilt University Medical Center
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