The International Core was established to expand Penn's involvement in International Medicine and to promote innovative international research, critical to better understanding the global nature of the HIV epidemic. To achieve these goals, the Core provides leadership in developing HIV/AIDS research and training in Botswana, and has adopted the following Specific Aims:
(1) To expand infrastructure and support in order to establish and maintain strong clinical, behavioral, and translational research programs in Botswana involving Penn and Batswana investigators.
We achieve these goals by: a) providing on-site scientific oversight of research projects in Botswana; b) advising Penn and Botswana scientists on the feasibility of their proposed research studies based on our knowledge of the patient population and the infrastructure available to perform the studies; c) identifying local collaborators for Penn investigators, and Penn collaborators for local investigators to pursue research projects, and (d) assisting Penn and Batswana investigators in obtaining IRB consent in Botswana through the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Princess Marina Hospital IRB committees, and assisting with online training for study personnel to obtain certificates of human subjects research protection.
(2) To train investigators from Penn and Botswana who are interested in international research.
We view capacity building in country as a central long-term mission of the Core. With the opening of a new medical school at the University of Botswana in August 2008 (the first in the country), enormous opportunities exist for mentoring and training our counterparts in Botswana. The Penn leadership of the International Core has outstanding relationships with the leadership at the University of Botswana, establishing an excellent environment for collaborative research. The excitement of international investigation is attracting many Penn trainees to Botswana for research experience. An important goal is to facilitate mentorship of trainees to develop the skills necessary to become future leaders in global health research.