In February 2023, as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant named “TABASAMU” awarded to the University of Washington (UW) and University of Nairobi (UoN), a team of researchers and professionals embarked on an international trip to Kenya. The purpose of the trip was to conduct focus groups and meet with potential oral health research trainees in four cities: Kisumu, Eldoret, Nairobi, and Mombasa. The trip involved a team of six travelers including Dr. Ana Lucia Seminario (UW), Dr. Frank Roberts (UW), Dr. Jenipher Ober-Oluoch (University of Rwanda), Dr. Arthur Kemoli (UoN), Dr. Immaculate Opondo (Maseno University), and Sara Stanley (UW). The TABASAMU project (Grant # 1D71TW011823-01) is the precursor planning grant that prepares the path for a future interdisciplinary research training program in Kenya.
Led by Dr. Jenipher Ober-Oluoch and Sara Stanley, the team conducted a series of focus groups to gather data on oral health research capacity in Kenya, with the opportunity to meet with potential oral health research trainees in each of the four cities. These meetings allowed the team to identify promising individuals for future trainee and research opportunities.
In addition to the focus groups, the team attended the Kenya Medical Research Institute’s (KEMRI) Annual Scientific and Health (KASH) Conference in Nairobi. Dr. Frank Roberts was a speaker at the conference and gave a lecture on periodontal disease and HIV. Attending the conference allowed the team to connect with other researchers and professionals and learn about the latest developments in oral health research.
This second TABASAMU trip to Kenya was another productive and enriching experience for the team and has laid the groundwork for a future NIH training grant to enhance oral health research capacity in Kenya, and future collaborations between University of Washington, University of Nairobi, and other partners within the country.