Training opportunities for noncommunicable diseases research in Latin America: A scoping review

22/08/2019

OBJECTIVE:
To identify gaps in postgraduate training and options for building capacity in noncommunicable disease (NCDs) research in Latin America.

METHODS:
This was a scoping review of postgraduate opportunities in NCDs at top universities in Latin America and of training grants awarded by international funding bodies. Three global university rankings were considered—the QS Ranking, the Shanghai Ranking, and the Times Ranking. Latin American universities appearing in at least two of these were selected. University websites were searched for current graduate programs in biostatistics, epidemiology, global health, health economics, and public health. Information was extracted, summarized, and evaluated to identify any programs focused on NCDs. In addition, seven international funding bodies’ websites were searched for training grants.

RESULT:
In all, 33 universities offering 72 postgraduate programs met the inclusion criteria. One of these programs was exclusively devoted to NCD, and 12 offered NCDs as a dissertation research topic. Only two training grants were awarded to a Latin American institution for NCD capacity building. There are few NCD research training programs in Latin America and only one program exclusively focused on NCDs.

CONCLUSION:
There seem to be few NCD-specific research training programs in Latin America. Leveraging existing programs and expanding those with a focus on NCDs could help enhance NCD research capacity in the region. These initiatives should be supported by international funding agencies through more funding opportunities.

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