MUHAS has considerable bench, clinical, epidemiological, economic, social science and other specialist expertise among faculty in its schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health and its institutes of traditional medicine and allied health sciences. As part of this collaboration, MUHAS developed its first research agenda. The agenda will harness faculty expertise to address gaps in knowledge about conditions that are prevalent in Tanzania and whose alleviation is key to achievement of national development goals.
Working in inter-disciplinary teams with other national and international experts and stakeholders, faculty will: develop drugs, diagnostics and vaccines; conduct clinical trials, large-scale community interventions, and health promotion research; describe epidemiological profiles and identify risk factors and social determinants; evaluate health system functioning and support policy making and planning; to address:
Working with UCSF research administrators, the Directorate of Research and Publications has reviewed its capacities and established three professional units to support faculty to undertake their research. The existing unit responsible for institutional proposal review will streamline its process to provide speedy response and advice to researchers; the research development unit will assist investigators in securing funding and writing and submitting proposals; and the grants management unit will set up systems to track proposals and sponsored research, and manage awards. The Directorate will encourage donors and national and international partnerships to support research activities that fall within the agenda. The Directorate will work with partners to build faculty capacity to undertake research, and pair senior mentors with young researchers.
There is little published scholarship about education for health professionals in Africa. It is novel that MUHAS’s research agenda prioritizes educational research as one of its major themes. MUHAS will reward faculty with small grants, and through promotion, for published research that focuses on improving the quality of health professionals’ education. Furthermore, MUHAS will encourage faculty to engage students in their research and to directly feed their findings into the curricula, keeping their students up-to-date with cutting-edge research relevant to the populations they will serve.