Admissions open for msc at uon
APHREA-DST is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of the new University of Nairobi MSc in Data Science, with a track in Public Health Data Science, in January 2023.
Candidates interested in applying are advised to find application details on the UoN website. Application materials are due by December 31, 2022.
With questions, please reach out to UoN APHREA-DST Project Coordinator Martha Mugo: email@example.com
2nd Ds-i Africa consortium meeting
Faculty Scholars visit Columbia
A Faculty Development program is a core component of APHREA-DST’s multi-tiered training programs. Two Faculty Scholars from AAU and two from UoN were selected in the inaugural year of the program (2021-2022) to participate in training, mentoring, and knowledge exchange in the field of public health data science, benefiting from the expertise of experienced faculty from Columbia and their own institutions. AAU’s Faculty Scholars were Dr. Wondwossen Mulugeta and Dr. Getachew Hailemariam. UoN’s Faculty Scholars were Dr. Idah Orowe and Dr. Elisha Abade. A keystone of the program was a visit to Columbia’s campus from August 29 – September 2, 2022. The Faculty Scholars were joined on this visit by their institutional mentors, the APHREA-DST PI from AAU, Dr. Rahel Bekele, and UoN PI Prof. Patrick Weke. During the visit they spent several sessions with their Columbia Mentors, Dr. Jeff Goldsmith and Dr. Tiffany Sanchez, as well as Prof. Kiros Berhane, who served as the third PI mentor.
APHREA-DST Project Director Dr. Isabelle Zaugg, in partnership with project partners, also organized a series of visits with faculty and supporting institutions across campus. A “Meet & Greet” luncheon including APHREA-DST’s Columbia investigators and MSPH department chairs kicked off the week. The visiting scholars met with Dean Linda Fried and other MSPH Deans to discuss priorities in public health research at Columbia and at their home institutions in Eastern Africa. Dr. Dan Westervelt organized a joint research symposium at Lamont-Doherty Campus in which a mix of Faculty Scholars and Columbia researchers presented recent research projects. Prof. Tian Zheng, Chair of the Department of Statistics, hosted the group for a lunch and discussion about innovative training ideas. The Data Science Institute welcomed the group for an introduction to their cross-disciplinary data science work, with a particular focus on the Center for Health Analytics; the visiting PIs also shared a snapshot of their university’s history and work on data science-related activities. The visiting scholars participated in the closing dinner of the Department of Biostatistics annual retreat, mingling with faculty, administration, and postdoctoral fellows. A half-day seminar was held at the School of Nursing, led by Prof. Suzanne Bakken and colleagues, who shared varied research and applied projects at the intersection of data science and nursing practice. Prof. Pam Factor-Litvak organized a fruitful roundtable discussion with Epidemiology T32 trainees.
AAU validates MS curriculum
Addis Ababa University (AAU) School of Information Science in collaboration with Columbia University (USA) and University of Nairobi (Kenya) hosted a workshop entitled "Curriculum Validation for Master of Science Degree in Public Health Data Science" at Capital Hotel on July 28, 2022.
Professor Alemayehu Worku, from the Department of Preventive Medicine and a member of the Technical Advisory Committee, said that the current Advancing Public Health Research in Eastern Africa through Data Science Training (APHREA-DST) project promotes an interdisciplinary approach by engaging the School of Information Science, Public Health, Department of Statistics, Mathematics and others.
Prof. Alemayehu stated that the collaboration of these different institutions will make the project one of the leaders in public health data science as data and data science are increasingly reshaping nearly all aspects of one's life, including health, though everyone is not benefiting equally.
“While advances like big data and artificial intelligence are beginning to revolutionize health care in high-income countries, they often fail to reach lower-income countries with the greatest need. It’s time to intervene to change these situations,” Prof. Alemayehu added.
“There is a severe lack of well-trained data scientists and home-grown educational programs to enable context-specific training in lower-income countries in general and in East Africa in particular,” he added.
Prof. Alemayehu urged that the proposed Master of Science in Public Health Data Science will therefore play a key role in producing graduates who have a broad and detailed knowledge of data science and fill the existing human resource gap.
Read more from AAU's coverage of the event here
APHREA-DST holds official launch
APHREA-DST's Official Launch Workshop was held in Nairobi, Kenya from April 4 - 7, 2022. The workshop was hosted by University of Nairobi (UoN) and Columbia Global Center Nairobi. The launch was attended by all three Primary Investigators (Contact PI Prof. Kiros Berhane, Prof. Patrick Weke, and Dr. Rahel Bekele); the Project Director (Dr. Isabelle Zaugg); Investigators from Columbia University, Addis Ababa University (AAU), and UoN; University of Nairobi leadership, faculty, and students; and guests from stakeholder organizations across the governmental, and non-governmental sectors.
The Official Launch Workshop kicked off on the morning of April 4, 2022 with introductions between APHREA-DST leadership and the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Stephen Gitahi Kiama and other UoN leadership in the Vice Chancellor’s office. Shortly thereafter the project was launched in the University of Nairobi’s Towers Room MLT 404. Words of welcome and support were shared by the Vice Chancellor and other top UoN leadership. A common consensus around the need for advancements in public health data science research in Eastern Africa was shared by stakeholders and other guests, as well as excitement about the training opportunities that APHREA-DST is developing.
On the afternoon of April 4, a Stakeholders' Session was convened at Columbia Global Center Nairobi. The event was opened by CGC Nairobi Director Dr. Murugi Ndirangu. Needs assessment results from Ethiopia and Kenya were shared by APHREA-DST Investigators, and feedback from stakeholders was received.
On April 5, the first APHREA-DST short term training entitled "The Emergence and Future of Data Science” was launched. This one-day training was held at Columbia Global Center Nairobi, and was led by Columbia team members Dr. Jeff Goldsmith, Dr. Tiffany Sanchez, and Prof. Kiros Berhane with video/in-person case studies provided by five additional Columbia team members. Thirteen trainees completed the training, including APHREA-DST team members from AAU and UoN, as well as additional UoN faculty.
On April 6 - 7 the APHREA-DST team met to continue planning for the upcoming launch of the MS in Public Health Data Science programs at UoN and AAU, as well as to develop a roadmap for further short term training plans. This time was also used for the first cohort of APHREA-DST Faculty Scholars to meet one-on-one with their Faculty Development Mentors, as they planned professional development activities to be carried out over the course of the year-long program.
The Official Launch Workshop was heralded as a successful program that allowed for face-to-face engagement among the APHREA-DST team, UoN partners, and project stakeholders across Kenya. Expressions of strong support from UoN leadership for APHREA-DST project goals, valuable stakeholder feedback, the launch of the first APHREA-DST short term training, and furtherance of the Faculty Development Program were all valuable outcomes of the event.
AAU holds national launch
Addis Ababa University launches APHREA-DST at the national level
"On March 10, 2022, APHREA-DST was officially launched at Addis Ababa University (AAU) in the presence of AAU management, stakeholders, academicians, and researchers. The event was held at Inter Luxury Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Reporter Theodros Shewangizaw covered the event, stating:
"Professor Belay Semane, a Researcher at College of Development Studies, in his remarks said that the goal of Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) is to spur new health discoveries and catalyse innovation in healthcare, public health and health research on the African continent through the application of data science. Belay stressed that the motivation of the winning project is to improve healthcare service delivery and research activities through building well-trained data scientists that can manage complex and voluminous health and environment data across the different domains of the health sector."
Prof. Belay "clarified that the project aims to advance the public health research in Eastern Africa by establishing new context-specific training programs in health data science by establishing an MS Graduate Degree Program in Public Health Data Science, undertaking faculty mentoring program, and conducting short-term training courses for a wide spectrum of trainees."
Read more here
Photos by Fikremariam Beyene
NIH funds APHREA-DST
Columbia Mailman Joins NIH Effort to Bolster Data Science in Africa
The National Institutes of Health is investing about $74.5 million over five years to advance data science, catalyze innovation, and spur health discoveries across Africa. Under its new Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) program, the NIH announced 19 awards to research partners in the U.S. and globally, including one to support a project led by scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
The $1.7 million award will create new training programs in health data science in Eastern Africa, with an initial focus on starting new MS programs in public health data science, first at the University of Nairobi in Kenya and then at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia—with immersion in real data programs by partnering with several ongoing research projects in the region.
The initiative will be carried out in collaboration with the Data Science Institute and Department of Statistics at Columbia University, Schools of Public Health and Information Science at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and the Schools of Public Health and School of Mathematics at University of Nairobi in Kenya. The Columbia Global Center in Nairobi will serve as a regional hub for key grant-related activities.
Program goals include the development of sustainable MS programs, faculty mentoring programs, and a short-term training program for a wide spectrum of trainees, including from partnering governmental and non-governmental stakeholders and the private sector.
Read more here
NIH funds Ds-I with $75m
NIH awards nearly $75M to catalyze data science research in Africa
The National Institutes of Health is investing about $74.5 million over five years to advance data science, catalyze innovation and spur health discoveries across Africa. Under its new Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) program, the NIH is issuing 19 awards to support research and training activities. DS-I Africa is an NIH Common Fund program that is supported by the Office of the Director and 11 NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices.
Awards will establish a consortium consisting of a data science platform and coordinating center, seven research hubs, seven data science research training programs and four projects focused on studying the ethical, legal and social implications of data science research. Awardees have a robust network of partnerships across the African continent and in the United States, including numerous national health ministries, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, and other academic institutions.
“This initiative has generated tremendous enthusiasm in all sectors of Africa’s biomedical research community,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “Big data and artificial intelligence have the potential to transform the conduct of research across the continent, while investing in research training will help to support Africa’s future data science leaders and ensure sustainable progress in this promising field.”
Read more here.