URTC Spotlight: Team 4 Prepares for Data Collection

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From Left: Nana Jacqueline Nakiddu, John Ssenkusu (UMN-SPH), Aine Provia, and Dave Darshit Ashok.

In January 2017, student researchers from Minnesota and Uganda were formed into teams as part of Uganda Research Training Collaborative (URTC). Together, they proposed small-scale research projects and have since been advancing their research plans. The URTC provides a rich opportunity for students from the U of M and partner institutions in Uganda to develop research skills.

For their study, "Effect of adherence and malnutrition on pharmacokinetics and virologic outcomes of atazanavir in HIV-infected adolescents," Team 4 will meet with HIV-positive teenagers and ask interview questions about medication use and nutrition status. The team will also measure drug levels to assess relationships between adherence, nutrition, and drug levels in adolescents. Essential to their success will be well-planned data collection protocols. To assist the team in working out these details, they have been mentored by John Ssenkusu, a PhD student in the Biostatistics program in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. John met with the team in September to provide guidance on their data collection strategies from a practical perspective so they will be well-positioned for analysis once the field work is complete.

Looking ahead to the dissemination of their research findings, the team attended a manuscript writing workshop in October led by Dr. Shailey Prasad, CGHSR executive director. The workshop focused on introducing junior researchers to academic writing concepts and a framework for dividing sections among the team.

In addition to these formalized learning opportunities, the team has been working through a long list of operational items, such as filing protocol amendments for their study, and planning a hands-on study procedures training for all team members. The team expects to begin enrolling study participants in November and completing collections by January.