Uganda Research Training Collaborative Team Publishes Findings From Study

Members of URTC study standing together and smiling toward the camera.

A student research team from Makerere University and the University of Minnesota has reached an important milestone for any research group—they recently published findings from their study launched in 2016.

The team, led by Edwin Nuwagira, Anna Stadelman, and Joseph Baluku with contributions from Mathias Lubega, published “Obstructive lung disease and quality of life after cure of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in Uganda: a cross-sectional study” in the May 2020 edition of the journal Tropical Medicine and Health.

The team formed under the Uganda Research Training Collaborative (URTC), a joint program between the University of Minnesota’s Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility and Makerere University, under the leadership of Drs. Joshua Rhein (University of Minnesota) and David Meya (Makerere University). 

The program was launched in 2016 with four teams of students with members from both institutions designing and implementing their own research projects under the guidance of Ugandan and US mentors. The program aims to equip interdisciplinary student teams with research skills through online learning, mentorship, and by actively designing and implementing the study.

Dr. Joseph Baruch Baluku was a Master of Medicine student at Makerere University when he participated in the URTC. He described the process of developing the manuscript.

The best part of the experience was the resilience and tenacity that the team exhibited. We committed to seeing the work through up to the end. There were lapses in communication at times for months, we endured two journal rejections but we knew we had to see it through. I think what mattered most is that we were all results-oriented people.

Dr. Baluku completed his MMed in January 2019 and now works as an infectious disease specialist with Mildmay Uganda while maintaining his position as a tuberculosis physician at Mulago National Referral Hospital.

Group of people laughing around a table

A key component of the URTC is that faculty member mentors hail from both institutions. This team was mentored by Pauline Byakika-Kibwika and Harriet Mayanja Kizza with the School of Medicine at Makerere University and Ken Kunisaki and Joshua Rhein with the University of Minnesota’s Medical School. 

Anna Stadelman, a University of Minnesota team member, described the significance of her mentors.

The mentorship component of the URTC contributed to our success as a team. The mentorship we received served as a launching point, which allowed us to work together and see the project through to the end.

Ms. Stadelman is currently conducting research in Uganda as a Fogarty Global Health Fellow. After completing her MPH during her URTC experience, she went on to pursue her PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health.

A group of 5 people sit around a table

In reflecting on his time with his teammates, Dr. Edwin Nuwagira shared his experience.

Words cannot explain my gratitude to URTC for the funding, the mentors, and Anna and Joseph—my teammates who worked so hard to get this done. I am very lucky to have been part of that team; we are all still in touch. We do have future research collaborative plans as a team, but no ongoing projects currently.

Dr. Nuwagira completed his Masters in Medicine program at Mbarara University of Science and Technology in June 2018. He has ongoing work with the University of Minnesota as the Senior Medical Officer for meningitis research projects at the Infectious Diseases Institute’s Mbarara Site.

The Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility extends their congratulations to the team on their successful research activities.