Broad interdisciplinary training programs which address critical needs in low and middle income countries (LMIC) can significantly increase the translation of research findings into realized health benefits. Northwestern University is establishing comprehensive training programs in biomedical engineering that include identification of critical health care needs, product design, delivery, clinical evaluation, scalability and product launch. The theme of our program involves the development of effective, affordable, and easy to use innovative biomedical devices that can advance diagnostics, therapeutic interventions and disease monitoring.
The overall goal of this project is to provide the tools to develop critically needed healthcare technologies in LMICs with a special emphasis on HIV-related diagnostic technologies. The specific aims of the project are to:
- Establish new and enhance existing training programs in biomedical engineering in Africa
- Train biomedical engineers and medical doctors how to evaluate newly developed HIV-related and other testing and treatment products
- Train post graduates from business schools to scale up development and launch new products in LMICs
The healthcare technologies being developed and employed include innovations that improve health outcomes and are cost-effective, including novel point-of-care medical diagnostic devices, therapeutic interventions, information systems, and telemedicine diagnostics facilitated through mobile phones. The primary emphasis of this project is to develop products related to HIV/AIDS. We are using a bottom-up approach and emphasizing South-South research training and assessment. The overall result of these efforts is to develop trans-institutional, cross-disciplinary and innovative training programs in biomedical engineering starting with needs assessment and product design, continuing to validation, intellectual property protection, production and finally to marketing and distribution in the LMICs.
This project builds on Northwestern’s successful original Framework Programs for Global Health (Frameworks-1) which supported the development of a multidisciplinary global health curricula and creation of the Center for Global Health in the Feinberg School of Medicine, the Center for Innovation in Global Health Technologies in the McCormick School of Engineering and the Global Health Initiative at the Kellogg School of Management. Frameworks-1 specifically led to the close collaboration of clinical and basic research involving medical, engineering and business schools as well as the establishment of the Northwestern Global Health Foundation, an independent not-for-profit which supports post-university commercial development of new healthcare products. Our LMIC partners include the University of Cape Town in South Africa, the University of Ibadan and Lagos University in Nigeria.
Robert L. Murphy, MD
The purpose of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative in Nigeria (MEPIN) is to enhance medical knowledge and skills at the six leading medical schools in Nigeria. Because these sites have received prior support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), MEPIN will leverage the existing infrastructure and human resources that are already available. The improvements in the medical education will emphasize priority health delivery to the community and will develop clinical and translational research competences of medical students, physician trainees, and public health graduate students to address the effectiveness of health service delivery and inform the prioritization of health programs in Nigeria. The MEPIN consortium will work together to develop education and research programs to be implemented at all six universities by the third year of the program, with the ultimate goal to expand these programs to all federally supported medical schools in Nigeria by the end of the project.
The Nigerian Teaching Hospitals that are included in the MEPIN award are as follows:
|MEPIN Teaching Hospital||Faculty||Beds||Admissions/Yr||Other Distinctions|
|University of Ibadan – College of Medicine||300||100||16,568||Center of Excellence for Neurosciences and Infectious Diseases|
|Ahmadu Bellow University – College of Medicine||900||700||15,000||Center of Excellence for Oncology & Radiotherapy|
|University of Jos – College of Medicine||90||600||15,000||WHO Collaborating Center for HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care|
|University of Lagos – College of Medicine||--||761||12,000||Center of Excellence for Radiotherapy|
|University of Maiduguri – College of Medicine||23||500||6,000||Center of Excellence for Nephrology|
|University of Nigeria – College of Medicine||153||450||6,332||Center of Excellence for Cardiothoracic Surgery|
The specific aims of the project are:
- Evidence-based revision, updating and re-structuring of the current medical (MBBS, BDS, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Human Nutrition and BMLS) education programming. MEPIN will further develop electronic teaching methods for problem solving, community-oriented medical education and research capacity building. The current community medicine training in the MBBS (which is the equivalent of an MD) curriculum will be revised and upgraded.
- Developing a youth health issues training program for pre-medical and health professional students. This course will include a general update on global infectious diseases of public health importance. Content will focus on updating students on the current status of HIV, Malaria, Tuberculosis, modes of transmission and general prevention methods.
- Develop mentoring, skill-building, and continuous medical education programs for post-graduate students and junior faculty. Three tracks will be developed that include clinical, basic science and program management. An introductory and advanced course on “Research in Public Health” will be developed for post-graduate (MSc, MPH and PhD level) students in the College of Medicine. The advance course will incorporate statistics, epidemiology and research proposal development and a small competitive development seed award program will support outstanding proposals. In addition, short certificated skills workshops will be organized to equip new medical graduates with skills required for independent practice.
- Enhance the research capacity of postgraduate students and faculty: community medicine and in-service personnel. A series of short courses will be developed for continuing education, skills-building and operational research training, tailored to each cadre of service delivery including doctors, nurses, counselors, pharmacists and laboratory staff. Distance learning platforms, CD-ROMs, Literature, short-courses and annual symposia will be the methods used to promote continuing education.
- A MEPIN Research Fellowship Program will be developed across all medical school partners to provide full year stipend and research support to residents/postdoctoral fellows with peer-reviewed proposals. A MEPIN Fellowship Committee will develop specific criteria and will advocate for the successful fellows to transition to permanent positions on faculty.
- A robust monitoring and evaluation plan will be developed to conduct a curriculum needs assessment which will inform the creation and piloting of new curricula, courses and programs. Additionally, the staff will be trained at each of the MEPIN universities to collect necessary evaluation data and to analyze the data for program outcomes and continual improvement.
Responsible Conduct of Research Training materials, "The Right Choice."
University of Ibadan College of Medicine (Prime Awardee)
Ahmadu Bello University – College of Medicine
AIDS Prevention Initiative Nigeria (APIN), Ltd.
Harvard School of Public Health
University of Jos - College of Medicine
University of Lagos – College of Medicine
University of Maiduguri - College of Medicine
University of Nigeria - College of Medicine
Dr. David Olaleye
NU Project Director:
Dr. Rob Murphy
MEPIN NU Co-Investigators:
Dr. Chad Achenbach
Dr. Paula Carney
Dr. Kristin Darin
Dr. Shannon Galvin
Dr. David Kelso
Dr. Demetrios Kyriacou
Dr. Rebecca Wurtz
Dr. Babafemi Taiwo
The goal of this NIH sponsored training program is to build sustainable research capacity at the University of Ibadan (UI), Nigeria, by activating latent potential and addressing specific omissions in current infrastructure. Our plan integrates diverse complementary expertise and capitalizes on dynamic collaborations between UI, Northwestern University (NU) and other partner United States (US) institutions. The training program will prepare a cadre of skilled, multidisciplinary researchers and outstanding research support staff, ensuring emergence of broad and integrative NeuroAIDS research expertise at UI. Trained scientists will contribute to discovery of sustainable solutions to NeuroAIDS, which will amplify the benefits of ART and stimulate local health authorities to allocate increased clinical and research resources to the NeuroAIDS field. A strong platform will emerge to support the next-level of collaborative grant applications such as the NIH Brain Disorders in Developing World: Research Across the Lifespan. Aggregated expertise will feed into UI’s long-term goal of developing a PhD Program in Neurosciences.
University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Babafemi Taiwo, MBBS
AIDS malignancies are a serious problem in sub-Saharan Africa because of the widespread HIV epidemic and a high burden of oncogenic viral co-infections. Antiretroviral treatment programs put into place by PEPFAR, the Global Fund and others, have resulted in a remarkable decrease in HIV-related morbidity and mortality, however, the rate of malignancies and other non-communicable diseases is rising while at the same time, the population is aging. Most medical and research institutions in Africa are ill prepared to deal with these emerging health challenges.
The University of Jos and Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) HIV Care and Treatment Program, established in 2002, currently provides care, treatment and support to over 20,000 HIV-infected adults and children. This university-based center is one of the largest providers of HIV care in Africa. In an effort to improve the management of AIDS-associated malignancies in West Africa and the continent, University of Jos/JUTH in conjunction with Northwestern University, proposes to build a multidisciplinary research-training program, which will build upon collaborations and enhance capacity in Nigeria by developing research teams focused on innovative collaborative endeavors in AIDS-defining malignancies (cervical cancer, Kaposi sarcoma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma). Our primary hypothesis is that building capacity in cancer epidemiology, clinical trials, translational, and laboratory research on AIDS-defining malignancies will lead to a significant reduction in incidence and related morbidity and mortality. We will build on existing in-country training capacity provided by the United States President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Northwestern University AIDS International Training and Research Program (Northwestern-AITRP), and Medical Education Partnership Initiative Nigeria (MEPIN) to achieve our objectives in this important health priority area.
The specific aims of this proposal are: 1) advance training of HIV clinician-investigators capable of performing translational research on the pathogenesis, epidemiology, and prevention of AIDS-defining malignancies; 2) initiate training of oncology clinician-investigators capable of performing clinical trial research on novel interventions for the treatment and prevention of AIDS-defining malignancies; 3) develop training of pathology and virology scientists to perform research on oncogenic mechanisms and pathogenesis; 4) create a multidisciplinary research team capable of performing advanced in-country research on AIDS-defining malignancies in Jos, Nigeria. We will accomplish our training goals through strong mentorship and a combination of long-term master’s and PhD degree granting programs, medium-term research project-driven training experiences, short-term in-country workshops, and innovative distance learning approaches. At the end of this project, we aspire to make the University of Jos a center of excellence in the research and care of AIDS malignancies in Nigeria and West Africa.