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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 107, Issue 4–5, pp e381–e386 | Cite as

Building the capacity to solve complex health challenges in sub-Saharan Africa: CARTA’S multidisciplinary PhD training

  • Sharon FonnEmail author
  • Omar Egesah
  • Donald Cole
  • Frances Griffiths
  • Lenore Manderson
  • Caroline Kabiru
  • Alex Ezeh
  • Margaret Thorogood
  • Chimaraoke Izugbara
Mixed Research

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To develop a curriculum (Joint Advanced Seminars [JASs]) that produced PhD fellows who understood that health is an outcome of multiple determinants within complex environments and that approaches from a range of disciplines is required to address health and development within the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA). We sought to attract PhD fellows, supervisors and teaching faculty from a range of disciplines into the program.

METHODS: Multidisciplinary teams developed the JAS curriculum. CARTA PhD fellowships were open to academics in consortium member institutions, irrespective of primary discipline, interested in doing a PhD in public and population health. Supervisors and JAS faculty were recruited from CARTA institutions. We use routine JAS evaluation data (closed and open-ended questions) collected from PhD fellows at every JAS, a survey of one CARTA cohort, and an external evaluation of CARTA to assess the impact of the JAS curriculum on learning.

RESULTS: We describe our pedagogic approach, arguing its centrality to an appreciation of multiple disciplines, and illustrate how it promotes working in multidisciplinary ways. CARTA has attracted PhD fellows, supervisors and JAS teaching faculty from across a range of disciplines. Evaluations indicate PhD fellows have a greater appreciation of how disciplines other than their own are important to understanding health and its determinants and an appreciation and capacity to employ mixed methods research.

CONCLUSIONS: In the short term, we have been effective in promoting an understanding of multidisciplinarity, resulting in fellows using methods from beyond their discipline of origin. This curriculum has international application.

Key words

Capacity building research developing countries Africa South of the Sahara multidisciplinary 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS: Élaborer le curriculum de ªséminaires communs avancés« (Joint Advanced Seminars [JAS]) au sein du consortium CARTA (Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa) pour produire des titulaires de bourses de doctorat qui comprennent que la santé est le résultat de nombreux déterminants dans des environnements complexes et qu’il faut faire appel aux démarches d’un éventail de disciplines pour aborder la santé et le développement. Nous avons cherché à attirer dans ce programme des doctorants, des superviseurs et des membres du corps professoral d’un éventail de disciplines.

MÉTHODE: Des équipes multidisciplinaires ont élaboré le curriculum des JAS. Les bourses de doctorat du CARTA étaient ouvertes aux universitaires des établissements membres du consortium, indépendamment de leur discipline principale, intéressés à faire un doctorat en santé publique et des populations. Les superviseurs et les membres du corps professoral des JAS ont été recrutés dans les établissements du CARTA. Nous utilisons les données d’évaluation systématique des JAS (questions dirigées et non dirigées) recueillies auprès des doctorants après chaque JAS, un sondage auprès d’une cohorte du CARTA et une évaluation externe du CARTA pour évaluer l’impact du curriculum des JAS sur l’apprentissage.

RÉSULTATS: Nous décrivons notre démarche pédagogique, en faisant valoir qu’elle est au cœur d’une appréciation de nombreuses disciplines, et nous montrons en quoi elle favorise le travail multidisciplinaire. Le CARTA attire des doctorants, des superviseurs et des membres du corps professoral des JAS issus d’un éventail de disciplines. Les évaluations indiquent que les titulaires de bourses de doctorat apprécient mieux l’importance des disciplines autres que la leur pour comprendre la santé et ses déterminants et qu’ils ont l’appréciation et la capacité nécessaires pour employer des méthodes de recherche mixtes.

CONCLUSIONS: À court terme, nous avons réussi à mieux faire comprendre la multidisciplinarité, ce qui fait que nos doctorants utilisent des méthodes extérieures à leur discipline d’origine. Ce curriculum peut être appliqué dans d’autres pays.

Mots clés

renforcement des capacités recherche pays en développement Afrique subsaharienne multidisciplinarité 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon Fonn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Omar Egesah
    • 2
  • Donald Cole
    • 3
  • Frances Griffiths
    • 1
    • 4
  • Lenore Manderson
    • 1
  • Caroline Kabiru
    • 1
    • 5
  • Alex Ezeh
    • 1
    • 5
  • Margaret Thorogood
    • 1
    • 4
  • Chimaraoke Izugbara
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburg, GautengSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyMoi UniversityEldoretKenya
  3. 3.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Division of Health SciencesUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  5. 5.African Population and Health Research CenterNairobiKenya

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