By Perfect Shankalala, Program Manager, University of Zambia
This workshop was organized through a collaboration between University of Zambia and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH), the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC). It trained researchers and educators with advanced cancer epidemiology and knowledge to design and implement cancer epidemiology research in Zambia.
The Vanderbilt-Zambia Cancer Research Training Program (VZCARE) hosted a cancer epidemiology workshop in Zambia from the 6th to the 9th of February 2023. The workshop aimed to train researchers and educators with advanced cancer epidemiology and knowledge to design and implement cancer epidemiology research in Zambia. This workshop was organized through a collaboration between University of Zambia and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH), the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) through a five-year training grant funded by the National Cancer Institute to support cancer epidemiology research training in Zambia.
The 140 workshop attendees included participants from Zambia Ministry of Health, Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH), University Teaching Hospital, University of Zambia, and Levy Mwanawasa Medical University, as well as researchers and research administrators from within and outside the university communities. Dr. Violet Kayamba, Zambian Program Director for VZCARE, and Prof. Douglas Heimburger from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Co-Principal Investigator of the project, welcomed participants.
The workshop incorporated various aspects of cancer epidemiology methods and principles, including Introduction to cancer epidemiology; Introduction to molecular epidemiology; Introduction to cancer biology; Lifestyles, nutrition, and cancer; Infection and cancer; Microbiome and cancer; Genetic epidemiology of cancer; Zambian studies on biomarkers for cancer; Using biomarkers of exogenous exposure in cancer epidemiology research; Biological sample collection, processing, and storage; Zambian laws on sharing biological samples and data; Cancer prognosis and survivorship; Cancer outcomes research with breast cancer as an example; Survey research; and Cancer epidemiology research already conducted in Zambia. VZCARE PhD candidates presented their preliminary research proposals and received feedback from workshop faculty and attendees. Workshop attendees were highly engaged in the discussions, praised the workshop's significance, and appreciated the opportunity to learn from the knowledge and experience of the workshop faculty.
Workshop faculty and organizers included Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty Prof. Xiao Ou Shu, Associate Director for Global Health and Co-Leader of the Cancer Epidemiology Research Program at VICC; Prof. Dr. Douglas Heimburger from VIGH; Prof. Wei Zheng, Professor and Director, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center; Dr. Martha Shrubsole, Research Professor of Medicine; Dr. Loren Lipworth, Professor of Medicine; Qiuyin Cai, Professor of Medicine; and Staci Sudenga, Assistant Professor of Medicine. Dr. Kaonda Mususu, Acting Director for the Directorate of Research and Graduate Studies (DRGS) at the University of Zambia also provided instruction. The workshop was directed and coordinated by Prof. Wilbroad Mutale, VZCARE UNZA Principal Investigator; Dr. Violet Kayamba, VZCARE Co-Investigator; Mr. Perfect Shankalala, VZCARE Training Coordinator; and Ms. Linda Kampata, Grants Manager.
This activity is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the US National Institutes of Health under Award Number D43CA270474.