First graduates of TDR’s postgraduate training programme in the WHO Americas Region

13 master’s degrees in Colombia focused on implementation research

TDR news item
2 March 2018

The first graduates of TDR’s postgraduate training programme received their degrees in Colombia this week. Thirteen students earned Masters of Epidemiology at the National School of Public Health Héctor Abad Gómez of the University of Antioquia.

University of Antioquia Master’s degree graduates in epidemiology
University of Antioquia Master’s degree graduates in epidemiology

As part of the fellowship programme, students carried out research on how to implement health interventions for the control of infectious diseases associated with poverty that are endemic in their countries. Fellows were from Costa Rica (3), Guatemala (2), Dominican Republic (1), Ecuador (1) and Colombia (6).

The programme was set up in 2015 by TDR in 7 universities around the world as part of a new approach to build broader institutional and individual capacity to conduct implementation research. The universities were selected through an open competition to provide regional scholarships for Master’s degrees and PhDs.

It’s a very important milestone for us. We hope these students will be leaders in the region and help expand knowledge on improving access to health care for people with infectious diseases affecting the most vulnerable populations.

Dr Dermot Maher
TDR’s Coordinator of research capacity strengthening

The University of Antioquia is the only one chosen that is in the Americas, and therefore responsible for scholarships in that region. The other universities are located in Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, Lebanon, South Africa and Zambia.

The programme is coordinated by Professor Carlos Alberto Rojas, a medical doctor with a PhD in epidemiology (and former TDR grantee) and professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health in the University of Antioquia since 2003.

At the graduation ceremony, TDR scientist Mahnaz Vahedi congratulated the graduates for their achievements and encouraged them to help their countries to strengthen the capacity to conduct implementation research and use research evidence while setting policies and strategies. She welcomed the graduates to the TDR family that stretches across the globe, reinforcing that this network will be a good resource throughout their careers.

Dr Mahnaz Vahedi, TDR Scientist
Dr Mahnaz Vahedi, TDR Scientist

Last week the rector of the University of Antioquia and the director of TDR signed a new contract to train a second cohort of Master’s degree students. The terms of the call will be published next month and students will start classes in August 2018.

The selected students will receive training in both implementation research and epidemiology through mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) research projects. Special materials developed by TDR such as the Implementation Research Toolkit, a massive open online course (MOOC) on the topic and other short courses will be used to train both academic staff and students to better understand the concept of implementation research.

The University of Antioquia Master's Degree in Epidemiology has more than 200 graduates. In 2009 it received an honorable mention from the Association of Ibero-American Postgraduate Universities and at the end of 2017 the self-assessment process for the accreditation of the CNA was completed. It is a master's degree in research, with a duration of four semesters, classroom modality and is offered every 2 years. The program is administered by the Epidemiology Group and coordinated by Professor Juan Fernando Saldarriaga.

For more information, contact Mahnaz Vahedi