Developing clinical and public health research training in oral health for Southeast Asia
Oral diseases are a major public health problem as they are among the most prevalent NCDs, especially in LMICs. Because of the common risk factors with other important NCDs and the oral-systemic health connections, oral health is also a critical component in maintaining good general health and well-being. The wide differences in the geography, social structure and cultures among Southeast Asian nations emphasize the needs for local research to identify risk factors and oral health management strategies that would be effective in each country. Yet, due to lack of personnel, knowledge on research methods, and funding, oral health care and research is still limited in Southeast Asia. Thus, there is a great need for trainings in oral health research methods and ways to enhance research capability of the region. Thailand, specifically Khon Kaen and Thammasart Universities, has collaborated with the University of Washington, USA, in the previous training grants (D43TW007768 and D43TW009071, PI: DeRouen) for over 10 years and is now capable of taking the leading role as trainers and offering the trainings to other LMICs in the region. This planning grant will be used to develop the detailed application for D43 training grant.
The aims are: 1) To assess the need for and structure of the advanced oral health research training programs in the region; 2) To strengthen research training capacity of the host institutions through faculty trainings in mentorship, online course development and evaluation, and short-term training course development and evaluation; and 3) To create a network of collaborating institutions in Southeast Asia for the future training grant. The proposed activities include: 1) Convening a meeting of Southeast Asian dental school deans to establish a network of collaborators and to assess the oral health research training needs in the region; 2) Training the mentors; 3) online course development workshop; 4) Short-term research training workshop for trainees, and 5) Developing a grant application for a future D43 Fogarty International Research Training Grant. These activities will lay the foundation for sustainable, competitive NCD D43 research training program in oral health led by Khon Kaen and Thammasat Universities for other LMICs in Southeast Asia.