Research Training on Harnessing Data Science for Global Health Priorities in Africa (DSI-Africa)

Introduction

The Research Training on Harnessing Data Science for Global Health Priorities in Africa is a collaboration between the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan), the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa and Heidelberg University in Germany and other ARISE partners. The training grant is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Fogarty International Centre (FIC). It aims to build data science research capacity in Africa with UKZN as the hub, and four partners (Spokes) in sub-Saharan Africa including, Nigeria (University of Ibadan), Uganda (Makerere University), Tanzania (Muhimbili University), and Ghana (University of Ghana).

The Research Training on Harnessing Data Science for Global Health Priorities in Africa program brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers and expert faculty with in-depth experience in data science and the following two global health priorities:

  1. Health Systems Strengthening, and
  2. Food Systems, Climate Change and Planetary Health

Institutional StructureDSI Institutional Structure

Leadership Team
DSI Leadership Team

Biographies

DSI Africa Booklet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Program Overview

Advances in digital technology over the past two centuries have transformed science,  health and biomedical research. ‘Big’ data opportunities are fast becoming available with advances in data science and artificial intelligence (AI), and these have the potential to transform both research and health care in Africa. For example, the analysis of real-world routine data can provide powerful insights to bridge the knowledge gap and contribute to the discovery of new solutions to some of Africa’s most pressing health challenges. The use of health data sciences and related approaches on the African continent, including in research and policymaking has however been limited by a severe shortage of data scientists.

Research Training on Harnessing Data Science for Global Health Priorities in Africa program provides training for advanced data skilled researchers in health data science in Africa through a rigorous curriculum and set of training and research activities designed to address the health needs of African countries.

The project will build a critical mass of junior public health and medical professionals across South Africa,  four other countries in Africa in the ARISE Network (Ghana, Nigeria Tanzania and Uganda), and across Africa to conduct rigorous health data science research.

It will train and support master’s students and postdoctoral fellows In health data science. The project will also develop a  new Masters of Health Data Science program at UKZN.

Domains

  1. Health Data Science Methods training

The project will provide training through short courses to professionals and researchers,  and a graduate certificate in health data science innovation.  Courses will include concepts from Statistics, Computer Science and Software Engineering and include training in Statistical computing for data science, Machine learning and Deep learning.

2. Health systems strengthening

The project will provide training in the domain of health systems and will provide Masters students and postdoctoral fellows with opportunities to carry out research utilizing health data science methods in health systems research.

3. Food systems, climate change and planetary health

Globally, food systems are failing to deliver nutritious and quality diets that are affordable for all, and poor food systems contribute to persistent undernutrition that affects 820 million people, and micronutrient deficiencies such as anemia that affect 1.9 billion people. There is a critical gap in our understanding of the complex pathways through which climate change and food systems interact to influence nutrition security and health outcomes. The project will provide training in the domain of food systems, climate change, and planetary health and will provide Masters students and postdoctoral fellows with opportunities to carry out research utilizing health data science methods in this area.

Future Activities

  1. Masters of Health Data Science students for training at the Harvard School of Public Health: Application details to be shared soon
  2. Short courses in health: Schedules for upcoming courses to be shared shortly.
  3. Monthly Seminar series: Schedule to be shared soon.

 

Contact details:
SA Coordinator:  Dr. Nisha Nadesan-Reddy
Nadesanreddy@ukzn.ac.za

HSPH Coordinator: Dr. Isabel Madzorera
imadzorera@hsph.harvard.edu