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.