239362 Increasing chronic disease research capacity in Guatemala through a fellowship program

Monday, October 31, 2011: 4:48 PM

Joaquin Barnoya, MD, MPH , Research Department, Cardiovascular Unit of Guatemala, Guatemala, Guatemala
Rosemary Kennedy, MA , Research for International Tobacco Control, International Development Research Center, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Background: Guatemala is undergoing an epidemiologic transition. However, given the way universities and the healthcare system are structured, it lacks an environment that fosters research careers and generates the required knowledge to implement evidence-based public health policies and clinical strategies. Objective: To describe the Chronic Disease Control Fellowship Program established in Guatemala in 2009. Methods: This 4-year Program aims to build the research capacity of recent medical graduates to support the development of chronic disease control strategies. Two one-year fellows are recruited annually and provided funding to define a research topic, write a protocol and implement the research. Strong emphasis is placed on developing skills in knowledge translation and exchange to bridge the “know-do” gap. Close mentoring relationships between the Principal Investigator and former and current fellows are fostered through the Program. Results: The Program, currently in its third year, has generated strategic data to support the implementation of sound chronic disease control strategies, mainly related to tobacco control. Results have been presented nationally and internationally. Research training has included principles of biostatistics, epidemiology, and a journal club. The Program is increasingly generating interest among medical graduates to pursue further research training abroad and is building local research capacity. Fellows and research assistants have created a research network in Guatemala and abroad. The main obstacle the Program faces is ensuring long-term sustainability. Conclusions: A fellowship program built on a foundation in mentoring can lead to an increase in research interest and capacity in a low-income country with little research infrastructure.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
-To describe a chronic disease control research training program implemented in Guatemala. -To evaluate the pros and cons of a one-year fellowship Program to increase research capacity in a low-income country lacking a research infrastructure. -Formulate ideas to foster research collaboration between North and South institutions.

Keywords: Chronic Diseases, Training

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have public health training and current hold a research assistant professor appointment at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition, I have several articles published in the peer-reviewed literature and have presented in previous APHA meetings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.