VIGH receives renewal to expand research ethics in Mozambique

Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) has been awarded a five-year, $1.2 million renewal of its Mozambique Collaborative Research Ethics Education Program supported by the Fogarty International Center of the NIH. In Portuguese, the Formação Colaborativa em Etica na Pesquisa or FoCEP Program is tailored to Portuguese speaking Africa.

Building on the success of its first five-years, the program will collaborate with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) and University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) to nurture a new generation of global health researchers from Mozambique in the the responsible conduct of research (RCR) including ethical review of human participants.  

“Our formative work with in-country partners gives us a unique perspective on how to move forward with research moonethics education and capacity building that strengthens a culture of research integrity,”
said Troy Moon, M.D., MPH, associate professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases
at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the project’s principal investigator.

The need for capacity building has increased with the growth of research activities by the Mozambican government and multiple international agencies. In response to requests from the Mozambican National Bioethics Committee for Health (Comité Nacional de Bioética para Saúde, CNBS) and the leadership of UEM for the provision of education and training to biomedical and public health investigators, VIGH will continue to strengthen and develop a system for ethical review of research, build capacity, and enhance ethics education.  

With the groundwork laid for systems of basic, translational, clinical and public health research, parallel capacity development in research ethics will be essential to address critical locally relevant research questions in an ethically-consistent way.

The program will focus on four areas:

  • ethics education, review and oversight of graduate and professional student researchers and their thesis research projects
  • burgeoning growth of research using biological specimens and clinical and epidemiological data, including the development of biobanks and a national data warehouse
  • research on the prevention and treatment of infectious and non-communicable diseases
  • international collaborative research that requires dual review and agreement on the authority of the potentially different regulatory requirements of partner countries

Specific educational aims and activities intended to build capacity for ethical design, review, and conduct of biomedical research in Mozambique are:

  • expand the cadre of Mozambican leaders in biomedical research with in-depth knowledge and practical skills in both research design and the ethical conduct of clinical and epidemiological research through a tailored MPH program and masters-level curriculum enhancements at UEM
  • enhance the knowledge and practical skills of the Mozambican Research Ethics Committee members and research educators in research ethics and the responsible conduct of research
  • instill research integrity; and further create, evaluate, and distribute curricular materials on research ethics and the responsible conduct of research tailored to Portuguese speaking Africa  

After five years of collaborative engagement in phase one of FoCEP activities, the program implementation team is uniquely familiar with the country's challenges and are well positioned to further develop Mozambique's capacity in research ethics, ethical review of research protocols, and the provision of research ethics and integrity education to the country's next generation of health researchers.   

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