Despite efforts to improve oral health, low- and middle-income countries such as Kenya often lack the resources necessary to build research and health system capacity. Drs. Dalton Wamalwa, Ana Lucia Seminario, and Arthur Kemoli have been awarded an NIH D71 grant entitled “TABASAMU: A multidisciplinary collaboration on building up research capacity in oral health and HIV/AIDS”, which will be a collaboration among the University of Washington (UW), the University of Nairobi (UoN) and the Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi (KNH). This innovative D71 award will provide the basis for developing a training program with the goal of creating sustainable institutional capacity in research and training for oral health and HIV/AIDS.
The objectives of this award are to 1) Identifying Kenyan oral health and HIV stakeholders and conducting virtual and in-person interviews in Nairobi, Kisumu, and Mombasa about current oral health research capacity and needs, 2) Identify a pioneer generation of oral health researchers, conduct focus groups and gather data about access and barriers to research, and create a social network group of potential researchers, and 3) Organize, develop, and finalize our D43 grant application based on our findings.
Through this two-year planning grant beginning in 2021, we will have the capability to reach out to stakeholders and key investigators all over Kenya, identifying oral health champions and potential researchers who will play a pivotal role in defining an organizational structure to support a future HIV research training program in oral health.