Global Health Research Program wraps up first session, accepting new applicants

July 30, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

Global Health Research Certificate Program scholars Nauzley Abedini, Nneneya Agochukwu and Sharla Rent with Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global initiatives Joseph Kolars.

A new program to help faculty apply their research in an international setting has graduated its first cohort and stands ready to welcome more participants.

The Global Health Research Certificate Program is now accepting applications for the 2018-19 session after wrapping up its inaugural program in July.

Fellows from urology, internal medicine and neonatal intensive care participated in the pilot session, which comprised a yearlong monthly seminar series. Themes included the global burden of disease, mixed methods research, ethics and cultural sensitivity and various health care finance models outside of the United States.

Each session was led by a different U-M faculty expert with a long history of international collaboration.

“I joined because I knew the people involved had tremendous reputations for engaging colleagues in places that are under-resourced,” said program participant Nauzley Abedini, M.D., a clinical lecturer in hospital medicine. “In 12 months, you meet all of these experts and they make themselves available even beyond the seminars. That’s the big benefit of the program — the individualized attention and access.”

Presenters included Chief of Hospital Medicine Vineet Chopra, M.D., M.Sc., and Professor of Surgery Krishnan Raghavendran, M.D., MBBS (on hospital and emergency medicine in low-resource settings); Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Internal Medicine Scott Stonington, M.D., Ph.D. (global health ethics); Professor of Learning Health Sciences Anne Sales, Ph.D., R.N., M.S.N. (implementation science); Associate Chair of Pediatrics Gary Freed, M.D., M.P.H. (global health systems governance and financing); and more.

The curriculum was administered by Global REACH and developed under Professor of Internal Medicine and Health Behavior & Health Education Michele Heisler, M.D., M.P.H. and Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives Joseph Kolars, M.D., who were also presenters.

“We tried to create a framework to help our scholars incorporate meaningful international research into their careers. What are the necessary steps? What are the common pitfalls?” said Kolars. “Doing research abroad can be daunting, but we have people across the institution who’ve had tremendous success. With this course, we’ve tried to leverage their collective knowledge to give others a jumpstart on their own international collaborations.”

Beyond the classroom-style seminars, the program requires a fieldwork project which participants can tailor to their interest.

For instance, Abedini plans a project in Uganda on palliative care. Nnenaya Agochukwu, M.D., a clinical lecturer in urology, is planning a project in Ghana to evaluate and improve surgical quality.

“I’ve known for a while that I want to build global health into my own career, so having access to other people whose careers have been centered around global health has been phenomenal,” Agochukwu said. “Not only do the lecturers bring their own unique experience and insights, but as participants, we are able to express our ideas and get feedback.”

Agochukwu and Abedini are fellows in the Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation Clinician Scholars Program. A third program participant, Neonatal-Perinatal Fellow Sharla Rent, M.D., plans to look at cultural factors behind NICU care decision making in Ghana and Ethiopia.

“From the presenters, we learned a lot about the different ways global health can be done, so I think it’s easier to imagine what a career path might look like that includes global health,” Rent said. “As participants, we learned from one another, too. Going through this experience with Nauzley and Nnenaya — colleagues with similar goals and in similar stages of their careers — was one of the most valuable aspects. We learned so much from one another.”

The 2018-19 session of the Global Health Research Certificate Program will kick off in September. Applications are due by Aug. 17.

The program is open to all U-M faculty (M.D. or Ph.D.), fellows, residents or Ph.D. candidates interested in establishing or expanding their research activities in an international setting.