Enhance Health Research Skills in Western Balkan

Project coordinator: Ilda Hoxhaj

This project aims to enhance the research capability and capacity among students in the health fields in the WB countries, through online training sessions on the basics of epidemiology and research methodology. Students, currently enrolled in a bachelor or master program in the field of health, such as general medicine, public health, nursery, pharmacy, etc., will be eligible to participate. A total of 36 participants will be selected: six participants from each WB country, based on their curriculum vitae, motivational letter, reference letter, and an adequate level of English proficiency, paying special attention to the gender balance. Online training sessions will be interactive, including a discussion part, questions, and answers, and at the end a practical exercise session. These sessions will be conducted in English by trainees with an extensive background in the field of research methodology, epidemiology, and public health. After every session, the participants will be asked to translate in their national language, the slides presented by the trainees, so the material could be available for a wider audience. In order to be accessible for the students in all WB countries these sessions will be recorded and published on the website dedicated to the project, after considering data privacy policies and taking the consent of the participants and trainees. The specific program will cover the following topics: 1. Evidence-based research; Principles of epidemiology and public health. 2. Statistics basic concepts. 3. An overview of study designs; Descriptive epidemiology. 4. Analytical epidemiology. Experimental epidemiology. 5. Bibliographic research in the main scientific databases; Systematic reviews and meta-analysis. 6. Translational research; Research application to healthcare practice. The participants will have the possibility to interact in a workshop with field researchers, which will introduce them to the practical aspects of the health research, along with the theoretical knowledge given in the online training sessions and contribute at understanding the current landscape of health research needs, barriers, and facilitators in WB countries. In this workshop, field researchers, member of Associazione Medici Albanesi Italia will discuss the main factors that could facilitate the implementation of research knowledge into practice, whereas the participants will present the barriers and challenges faced in WB countries in research. This project has the potential to create an important inter-regional network among students in the health fields within and across all WB countries. A network will be created among students, trainees, and field researchers, which could be the start of new research collaborations in the future. The students will be equipped with important tools and instruments to conduct research in several healthcare topics. The acquired knowledge will enable participants to be part of different research projects in their home countries and/or abroad. The knowledge acquired in this project could enhance the participants’ academic performance. Furthermore, the institutions of these students will benefit from the project since the participant students could share their experience and acquired knowledge with their peers in the home universities.

Time period: 2021

Project Manager : Ilda Hoxhaj