The University of Nebraska-Lincoln - in collaboration with Zambian partners - has been administering a NIH Fogarty International Center Training Program to develop the infrastructure and research capacity in Zambia to advance the prevention, diagnosis, and management of HIV- and AIDS-associated diseases since 2000. With the addition of a new partner, the Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH), this new and more focused training program addresses a critical health problem in the region: AIDS-associated cancers. The goal of this program is to train a cadre of Zambian biomedical researchers and practitioners in the skills necessary to further the country's research agenda in cancer biology and prepare the country for the new era of cancer genomics for the diagnoses and treatment of cancers.
To train and retain such personnel in Zambia, the program design is organized around the following specific aims, each focused on different types of training: 1) Provide intensive academic instruction and research experience for four Zambian fellows to receive an MSc, MPH, or MMed degree in a relevant cancer research field (two years of training for each fellow); 2) Provide intensive academic instruction and research experience for two Zambian fellows leading to receipt of a PhD in a relevant cancer research field (five years of training for each fellow); 3) Provide medium-term (six months) technical training opportunities for five post-graduates in topics related to molecular pathology, cancer biology, and genomics; and 4) Deliver workshops designed to enhance basic, clinical, implementation, and behavioral cancer research capability and infrastructure in Zambia and expand collaborations among the partner institutions (over 500 total workshop participants are expected, including clinicians, researchers, and public health personnel)
The outcomes of the proposed program will include Zambian biomedical researchers and cancer healthcare providers trained in cancer genomics, cancer diagnostics, pathology and molecular tools, and cancer epidemiology; new infrastructure and tools to aid these individuals in their work; and the retention of these trained personnel at Zambian institutions, where they will be employed upon the completion of their training and where there will be a sustainable research infrastructure to support cancer clinical and research programs in Zambia.
MERC is providing both formative and summative evaluation support for this program.