The V-BRCH Project: building clinical trial research capacity for HIV and noncommunicable diseases in Nigeria.


Antiretroviral therapy has turned HIV into a chronic condition, with morbidity from HIV-associated noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) becoming more common as HIV-infected individuals live longer. In Nigeria, the additional challenge of an under-capacitated health system highlights the need for skilled clinical investigators who can generate evidence to tackle the double burden of HIV and NCDs. The Vanderbilt-Nigeria Building Research Capacity in HIV and Non-communicable Diseases (V-BRCH) programme is a training platform to create a cohort of skilled Nigerian investigators with the capacity to lead independent clinical trial research focused on the intersection of HIV and NCDs. V-BRCH will solidify an atmosphere of continuous mentoring and skills acquisition for physician faculty at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital via short- and medium-term learning opportunities, paired mentoring arrangements, and mentored research projects. Trainees will attend an annual faculty enrichment programme in Nashville, in addition to on-site workshops in Nigeria on HIV-associated NCD epidemiology, clinical trials methodology, evidence synthesis, qualitative research methods, stakeholder engagement, knowledge translation, and grant writing. Research-oriented junior faculty will undergo focused training in clinical trials administration and regulatory oversight. Scholars will share best practices through mentoring panels, regular 'Works in Progress' meetings, and monthly career development seminars. Competitive seed grants will be provided to mentor-mentee teams to promote targeted in-country pilot studies focused on HIV-associated NCDs. For long-term training, physician scientists will be supported to undergo enhanced Master of Public Health (MPH) training at Bayero University in Nigeria and Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) training at Vanderbilt. Short-term regional courses, staff development workshops, and MPH curriculum refinement will help to strengthen institutional capacity in HIV-associated NCD clinical trial research. V-BRCH will create a cohort of skilled Nigerian scientists who will be able to compete for independent funding and design and implement high quality research that will generate evidence to inform policy and practice and lead to improved outcomes for Nigerians impacted by HIV-associated NCDs.