Yale professors join Universiti Malaya colleagues for implementation science boot camp

Faculty members from the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) and the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) recently joined an interdisciplinary group of students and researchers in Kuala Lumpur for a summer training camp on implementation science.

The three-day series of lectures, presentations and working groups was the first in-person boot camp since Yale University and Universiti Malaya established the Malaysian Implementation Science Training Center ( MIST) last year. The centre, supported by a five-year grant from the Fogarty International Program of the National Institutes of Health and partly hosted by the Malaysian Center of Excellence for AIDS Research, aims to train the next generation of health academics. translate scientific research into action plans. for governments and communities across Southeast Asia.

“Over the past few decades, it has been recognized that much scientific evidence does not find its way into daily practice because it is not easy to do so. It’s not easy, it’s not a given, said Luke Davis, MD, MS, associate professor of epidemiology (microbial diseases) at YSPH and associate professor of medicine (pulmonology, intensive care and sleep medicine) at YSM. “We not only need to implement health interventions, but we also need to help people change their practices and behaviors. and that is the science of implementation.

The boot camp, which had more than 140 participants this year, focused on using implementation science to improve health equity, particularly in relation to prevention and HIV treatment in Malaysia. Davis and other faculty members also led workshops on implementation science theory, new techniques, COVID-19 case studies, and more. The boot camp also prepared participants in fundamental research skills such as grant writing and study design.

Working on the translation of public health research is particularly important in Malaysia because of existing political barriers that can impede the implementation of harm reduction programs for drug users or other groups, said Sten Vermund, MD. , PhD, Yale Anna M. R. Lauder Professor of Public Health at YSPH and Professor of Pediatrics at YSM, who also lectured at boot camp.

This is where the science of implementation comes in.

“There may be laws on the books where we need to engage politically and educate politicians on how the legal policies they have established can impair the ability to reach vulnerable populations and reduce their risk,” did he declare.

The diversity of conference topics reflected the diverse backgrounds of the participants. While many have focused their work on HIV, Yale faculty members, government officials, students, and members of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were able to share their expertise through informal discussions and daily tea parties. afternoon – made possible by the in-person boot camp.

“We were able to have these parallel sessions where there were working groups, and there were feedback, and there were discussions,” said Frederick L. Altice, MD, MA., professor of medicine (infectious diseases) at YSM and of epidemiology (microbial diseases) at YSPH. “People sat together and had lunch together, and I saw in front of my eyes people who came from other disciplines and tried to make time to talk.”

Other Yale faculty members who traveled to Kuala Lumpur for boot camp include Mona Sharifi, MD, MPH, associate professor of pediatrics (general pediatrics) and biostatistics (health informatics), YSPH; Sheela Shenoi, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases), YSM; and Zhao Ni, PhD, RN, assistant professor, Yale School of Nursing and YSM. Kaveh Khoshnood, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases), YSPH, and other professors and speakers joined the boot camp remotely from New Haven.

Attendees of last year’s boot camp — held remotely, with some Yale faculty members negotiating a 12-hour time difference to attend — even became “full-fledged independent experts” during the session. 2022, Altice said. “Local people have started to recognize that there is local leadership emerging, which is really what you want to happen. »

Indeed, two years into the five-year grant, the boot camp has attracted considerable attention from the Malaysian Ministry of Health, said Adeeba Kamarulzaman, MBBS, FRACP, FASc, Associate Professor (Adjunct ) of Medicine, YSM, former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Universiti Malaya, who co-leads MIST. Malaysian officials recently asked MIST to create a series of shorter one-day implementation science programs for wider use, and the taped lectures from this year’s boot camp will help other trainings to the future.

“Being able to influence how colleagues in the Ministry of Health implement evidence-based programs is very, very important,” Kamarulzaman said.

She added that the training in fundamental scientific techniques during the June boot camp will help Malaysia develop its global research profile.

“It was this golden opportunity to have all these experts from Yale in Malaysia, – who are champions for getting big grants from the NIH – to impart this knowledge of some of the do’s and don’ts on the writing international grants in particular,” she explained. “It was truly a golden opportunity that many young researchers would not have had otherwise.

Encouraged by the positive feedback and tasty Malaysian cuisine, Yale faculty members said plans are already underway for next year’s in-person boot camp — and beyond — with the aim of to help Malaysia not only fight HIV, but also a wide variety of other epidemiological problems.

“Right now we’re just building the foundation,” Altice said. “And there’s incredible potential, I think, to go from there.”

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