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.