— The center would ultimately result in increased capacity across Liberia’s health sector in evidence-based health sciences teaching and patient care, utilization of research for health policymaking, innovative commercial applications of health research findings, and sustainable financing for health research and utilization programs in Liberia.
The University of Liberia has created a research hub that seeks to connect faculty, students, policymakers, clinicians, and entrepreneurs to optimize the research-driven solution for the Liberian health sector.
The project, which USAID is funding with US$15 million, will support research collaboration between Yale University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Liberia College of Health Sciences (ULCHS).
The USAID intervention is part of its Bringing Research to Impact for Development, Global Engagement, and Utilization (BRIDGE-U) project, which has now led to the creation of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation in Liberia (CTLI) — a public-private academic hub that aims to coordinate wide-ranging research focusing on Liberia’s health sector.
It is expected that the collaboration between universities, which led to the development of a joint project titled, “Applying Research for a Healthy Liberia (AR4HL)”, which runs from 2021-2026, would impact long-term research and training collaboration in the health sector and institutionalize income-generating activities.
The AR4HL project goes beyond hosting faculty development grounding but also addressing the country’s undeniable need for students in science and research, as well as providing an interprofessional capstone that uses course examining research outputs can be turned into development impact.
The facility also houses an Experiential Learning and Assessment Lab (ELAB), which uses cutting-edge mannequins to provide evidence-based simulation training to health sciences students and working clinicians, as well as a certificate in evidence-based health policy to current policymakers.
iLab Liberia and the Consortium for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology (CIMIT) will implement innovative programming focused on identifying, cultivating, and supporting female entrepreneurs to develop commercial applications of health-related research.
These activities, according to the project, would ultimately result in increased capacity across Liberia’s health sector in evidence-based health sciences teaching and patient care, utilization of research for health policymaking, innovative commercial applications of health research findings, and sustainable financing for health research and utilization programs in Liberia.
The US government, via Joel Maybury, Deputy Chief of Mission at its Embassy in Monrovia, said the launch of the hub is yet another great achievement that marks their long-standing partnership with Liberia that would serve as a gateway to modern health education, and technology for the next generation of essential health workers.
“The U.S. government is proud of the many ways in which our assistance improves health outcomes for the Liberian people. Strengthening the health workforce is a priority for every country, and as we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no time to waste,” Maybury said. “Strong leaders, competent clinicians, and innovative entrepreneurs need research information to prepare for and respond to pandemics. I am impressed with your innovative and strategic vision to establish the CTLI which serves this purpose.”
Maybury further disclosed that the U.S. University and other partners are working side-by-side with the University of Liberia and Tubman University, “just as [we] at the Embassy work side-by-side with the Ministry of Health to re-imagine medical education in Liberia.”
Meanwhile, the University of Liberia President Dr. Julius Nelson added that he is confident that CTLI and all related programs will be very transformational for his faculty and students.
“It is our mission to promote lifelong learning and research and the creation of this hub, usher in a new era for high quality, which is critical for quality health professionals. We are proud to be associated with the training of our future generations of Liberia’s health workforce and faculty members We must be safe and healthy. It is our duty to provide a comprehensive and enriching educational experience that prepares these students to be the leaders and change-makers of the future. We are so grateful for the support of our many partners and everyone here today,” he said.
The hub was launched on June 21, at the A.M Dogliotti College of Medicine Campus in Congo Town. The launch will be celebrated along with the Health Innovation and Entrepreneurship Seminar and a preview of the Experiential Learning and Assessment Lab (ELAB) clinical simulation space at The John F. Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center on June 23.