Vanderbilt Institute in Research Development and Ethics (VIRDE), is a one-month course on grant writing and research ethics at VIGH. VIRDE 2013 brought twelve medical and public health professionals to Vanderbilt for the month of October. Participants developed grants on topic areas such as HPV and esophageal cancer in Zambia, TB in Peru, and Sickle Cell Disease and Stroke in Nigeria.
VIRDE was originally developed with support from Dr. Sten Vermund’s current NIH/Fogarty International Center (FIC) funded AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP). VIRDE has expanded to include scholars from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DeBaun, PI) and other FIC funded training grants such as the Peru International Clinical, Operational and Health Services Research and Training Award (ICOHRTA-Gotuzzo, PI). VIRDE provides intensive training in research development and productivity, and is intended to further develop the skills necessary to conduct responsible human subjects’ research and develop a grant proposal for submission. Trainees are matched with a VU faculty mentor who shepherds them through the grant development process. Additionally, VIRDE trainees complete 12 contact hours of specially tailored coursework in research ethics and research integrity, taught by Dr. Elizabeth Heitman from the VU Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society. To date 21 trainees from Mozambique (2), Zambia (8), Pakistan (4), Nigeria (4), Peru (1), Malawi (1), and China (1) have participated, earning 4 funded grants and multiple submissions to NIH and other funding agencies such as the World Health Organization which are currently under review.