The University of Botswana School of Medicine (UB SoM) enrolled in first class of students in 2009 and began a residency program in 2010. The School was formed to train doctors who are citizens of Botswana with the hope of retaining them in country. In prior years, medical students were educated outside the country at the government's expense; however, less than 15% returned to Botswana. The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) established collaborations with the Government of Botswana and UB in 2001, which is referred to as the Botswana-UPenn Partnership. The partnership focuses on building health care capacity in clinical care, education, and research in Botswana. The goals of this Core are to enhance the education of UB SoM trainees and faculty in clinical research methodology focused on cervical cancer, and to provide scientific and career mentoring for trainees and faculty who apply for pilot grant funding. To achieve these goals: 1. We will introduce a career-mentoring program at UB for faculty and students interested in biomedical research. No such mentoring program currently exists at UB. Entry into the career-mentoring program will be based on those trainees and faculty who submit a pilot grant application. All applicants will be offered career mentoring independent of their success in obtaining pilot grant funding. We distinguish career mentors from scientific mentors in that career mentors are often senior faculty with successful careers that do not necessarily share scientific interests with their mentees. One senior faculty member from UB and another from Penn will be identified as career mentors. 2. We will organize an annual educational workshop in biomedical research methodology for UB faculty and medical trainees We will focus on teaching at an introductory level about the skills required for biomedical research with an emphasis on epidemiology, pathogenesis and treatment of cervical cancer, which is the central theme of this application. Lectures will target UB medical students. Masters of Medicine (MMed) residents working on a research thesis, and UB faculty interested in biomedical research. 3. We will initiate a mentored pilot grant program that links a UB faculty member with a UB MMed resident and/or medical student and a scientific mentor from Penn. We are particularly interested in supporting pilot grant applications that include as a team member UB medical students enrolled in a novel year-out program for biomedical research funded by the Botswana Government. We will devote one day of the annual workshop to lectures on manuscript and grant writing, to supervising the faculty and trainees as they begin to prepare their pilot grant applications, and to helping applicants identify suitable scientific mentors at Penn for their projects. We will establish performance measures to monitor the success of our programs. The 13-year commitment of Penn faculty in Botswana and the collegial relationships that have emerged are positive indicators that this Core will succeed in achieving its research and mentoring goals.
Penn collaborates with UB and the Botswana Ministry of Health (MOH) to strengthen health care capacity in Botswana through a partnership referred to as the Botswana-UPenn Partnership (BUP). Penn and the MOH signed a Memorandum of Agreement in 2004 to provide care to HIV infected people in Botswana. Penn and UB signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2006 to offer educational opportunities to one another's students.
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