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Ghana-Michigan Postdoctoral and Research Trainee NEtwoRk (PARTNER) Program

a PSC Research Project

Investigators:   Thomas G. Robins, Sofia D. Merajver, Kathleen Helen Sienko, Rachel C. Snow

The overall objective of this proposal is the strengthening of interdisciplinary research capacity in Ghana to address global health challenges faced by to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This focus reflects the situational analysis of the region suggesting: a) a dearth of junior-to mid-level researchers adequately prepared to seek and obtain extramural support for independent research endeavors, b) complex social, environmental, and health-related problems requiring interdisciplinary approaches to research to identify viable solutions, and, c) the high potential for successful public health interventions resulting from innovative, interdisciplinary research projects. Our strategies for achieving the goal of strengthening of research capacity focus on: a) the long-term, comprehensive training of post-doctoral scientists who will become future leaders of interdisciplinary, global health research in Ghana; b) the building of institutional capacity through a combination of strengthening of mentoring skills of faculty of the lead academic institutions, and development and dissemination of research training materials using state-of-the-art distance learning methodologies; and c) strengthening an alliance of academic institutions with governmental organizations responsible for evidence-based policy implementation. Specific methods to achieve these objectives include: a) bringing a cadre of 12 post-doctoral fellows organized into interdisciplinary teams for a 4-month intensive program of study in research methods at the University of Michigan; b) bringing 2 post-doctoral fellows to the University of Michigan for a full academic year for an intensive program to increase research and mentoring skills; c) directly supporting 2 University of Michigan faculty from complementary disciplines to spend 4 months in Ghana to providing ongoing mentorship for the post-doctoral students who have returned home, as well as serving as visiting faculty to teach at the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and collaborating with the Ministry of Health's Ghana Health Service research division. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Ghana, like most LMICs, faces complex health challenges. Strengthening of in-country interdisciplinary research capacity is a critical element for addressing these challenges. This proposal will accelerate the building of a strong cadre of well-trained post-doctoral scholars who approach solving global health problems in a fundamentally different way: through innovation and interdisciplinary cooperation.

Funding Period: 09/15/2010 to 08/31/2012

Countries of Focus: Ghana, USA

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