Medical education programs aimed at building research capacity are urgently needed to relieve the burden of neurological disease in Nigeria. Serious public health issues threaten the brain and cognitive function at all stages of the lifespan -- in utero, infancy, childhood, adulthood and with aging. This application, submitted in response to RFA-TW-11-004 (The Medical Education Partnership Initiative Linked Awards (MEPI) - R25), outlines an innovative research education plan involving a partnership between neurologists and neuroradiologists from the University of Ibadan/University College Hospital (UI/UCH) in Ibadan and a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and scientists from Northwestern University in Chicago. The plan combines formal education in methodology for studies of the brain, intensive clinical research training opportunities in adult and pediatric neurology and remote learning. In addition, major imaging equipment in clinical use at UI/UCH that has not yet been exploited for research will be scaled up for imaging studies of the brain. Because imaging technology can be used to study nearly any injured or intact brain at any stage of the lifespan, this will represent a significant advance in building neurological research capacity. This program will yield benefits for our primary targeted public health concerns in adult (stroke) and pediatric (epilepsy) neurology. It is important to appreciate, however, that these same tools will yield broad returns in building research capacity, with benefits that extend to many neurological and psychiatric public health threats including cerebrovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, brain trauma, central nervous system infections, neurodevelopmental disorders, drug addiction and psychiatric disorders. The skills acquired in this program can be used to design feasible investigations for identifying effective prevention strategies, improving diagnostics, for evaluation of neurological outcome and for evaluating interventions aimed at neuroprotection, preservation of cognitive function and quality of life. This training program will significantly strengthen the existing medical education system at the UI/UCH, which is the flagship public university and oldest institution of higher learning in Nigeri. Participating physicians will be able to build neurological research capabilities further by mentoring colleagues, local collaborators and future generations of students, residents and fellows. This program will yield a sustained and expanding impact on neurological research capabilities in Nigeria.

Public Health Relevance

This project aims to advance research capabilities to reduce the burden of neurological disease in Nigeria through an educational program that combines methodology for neurological studies and clinical research training opportunities in adult and pediatric neurology. In addition, the research potential of equipment available in a major Nigerian hospital will be scaled up for brain imaging, which can be used for nearly any kind of neurological study. This research educational program is anticipated to yield broad returns in developing capacity to address public health threats to the brain and cognitive function.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Education Projects (R25)
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International and Cooperative Projects - 1 Study Section (ICP1)
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Hirtz, Deborah G
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University of Ibadan
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