Research Capacity Training on Environmental Health and Noncommunicable Diseases in the Country of Georgia: Challenges and Lessons Learned during the COVID-19 Pandemic
International journal of environmental research and public health
COVID-19; environmental health; global health; global health training; low- and middle-income countries; mentorship; noncommunicable diseases
COVID-19 presented challenges for global health research training programs. The Clean Air Research and Education (CARE) program, which aims to enhance research capacity related to noncommunicable diseases and environmental health in the country of Georgia, was launched in 2020-as the COVID-19 pandemic began. At its foundation is mentorship and mentored research, alongside formal didactic training, informal training/meetings, and other supports. Current analyses examined CARE's initial 1.5 years (e.g., program benefits, mentorship relationships) using data from an evaluation survey among trainees and faculty in January 2022. Trainees (100% response rate: = 12/12; 4 MPH, 8 PhD) and faculty (86.7% response rate: = 13/15; 7 Georgia-based, 6 United States-based) rated factors related to mentor-mentee relationships highly, particularly mutual consideration of each other's thoughts, opinions, and perspectives; one major challenge was completing goals planned. Trainees and faculty identified several growth experiences and program benefits (e.g., skills development, expanding professional network) but also identified challenges (e.g., meeting program demands, communication gaps, unclear expectations)-exacerbated by the pandemic. Findings underscore the importance of strong mentorship relationships and that the pandemic negatively impacted communication and clarity of expectations. Given the likely ongoing impact of the pandemic on such programs, program leaders must identify ways to address these challenges.
Berg, Carla J.; Sturua, Lela; Marsit, Carmen J.; Baramidze, Levan; Kiladze, Nino; and Caudle, William Michael, "Research Capacity Training on Environmental Health and Noncommunicable Diseases in the Country of Georgia: Challenges and Lessons Learned during the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2022). GW Authored Works. Paper 1365.
Prevention and Community Health