Student
Course
Management

Short Course in Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine (SCREM)

SCREM is a blended training targeting professionals who are responsible for clinical research and local guidelines/algorithm development.
Clinical research in low to middle income countries is often implemented by specialised institutions. Clinicians in national, regional and district hospitals are aware that there is much information they could use to perform “low-scale” research to enhance their own decision-making. While academically oriented clinicians develop their research through doctoral study programs, the others often miss training opportunities. The SCREM aims at filling this gap, targeting professionals who are responsible for clinical quality assurance, for local guideline and/or algorithm development and for coaching junior staff in clinical research.

Mode of study

This course (component) is organized :
- Distance learning (Online)
- Face-to-face (Antwerpen)

Learning Objectives

After completion of the course, participants should be able to:
 
A. Retrieve relevant published articles related to a research question and evaluate relevance of clinical research results in relation to a concrete low resource setting;
B. Design a research project in the field of etiology of health problems, effectiveness and efficiency of diagnostics, clinical management and disease prevention in low resource settings;
C. Apply principles of evidence-based medicine (EBM). This includes the ability to use gathered evidence in guideline and algorithm development, and the ability to evaluate guidelines;
D. Communicate research results to both professional and scientific communities in a written and oral way.
 
In addition, the participant will gain basic comprehension of:
1. Pitfalls of implementation of research projects;
2. Writing Standard Operation Procedures;
3. Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and ethics in clinical research;
4. Writing a research grant application including budget and identifying sources of funding for small-scale research projects.

Content

Starting from a practical question participants encountered in their clinical work (draft personal project as mentioned below under selection criteria), a critical analysis of literature is done and an applied research protocol is identified at the start of the course. The following contents will be contextualized individually and/or in small groups (2-3 participants).
 
1. Protocol development: from observation to hypothesis, from hypothesis to study methodology and sampling populations;
2. Presenting medical statistics: how to present statistical information for a proposal, a paper or a report;
3. Presentation of results in a written (Executive Summary) and oral (power point presentation) way;
4. Critical reading: pitfalls in research (bias in hypothesis, in inclusion, in analysis, in interpretation, in applicability);
5. Literature Search: how to run a literature search, levels and types of evidence of published research;
6. Principles of EBM and introduction to constructing and evaluating guidelines and algorithms;
7. IT skills: Excel, Word, Reference Manager;
8. Learning to use statistical software (Stata);
9. Seminars:
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOP);
- Ethical aspects of research;
- Research funding;
- Introduction to principles of GCP.

Teaching and learning methods

The course mainly uses adult learning methods, based on problem oriented Socratic approach (problem-based inductive methodology) with assignments in small groups (2-3 participants) coached by a tutor, with regular plenary sessions.
 
Consultants will be invited to discuss specific problems such as ethics, statistical methods, funding etc. based on the different protocols developed by participants, taking them as field examples.
 
Except for 4 seminars there will be no classical ex-cathedra teaching.
Moodle is used as Learning Management System (LMS) for the distance learning phase and for the F2F in house management of the students.
The online lectures, for the distance learning component of the course, have embedded:
    - Self-assessments;
    - MCQ quizzes;  
    - Compulsory discussion forum participation.

Assessment

Portfolio assessment with written weekly assignments from distance learning component (30% of the final mark), formulation of Executive Summary (20% of the final mark) and oral presentation of personal project (50% of final mark).

Admission requirements

1. Holders of a medical or a paramedical university degree of min 240 ECTS credits;
2. Minimum of two years professional experience in the clinical field;
3. Basic knowledge of statistics and epidemiology (descriptive and inferential/bivariate statistics and basic clinical epidemiology), equivalent to the level of a core course in international health;
4. Computer skills: Word, PowerPoint, Excel (basics);
5. Proficiency in English (students should be able to read and interpret perfectly English texts. Non-native English speakers or participants who did not use English as course-language during previous academic studies must provide proof of a TOEFL score 580 (paper based), 230 (computer based), or an IETLS of 6.5.
6. Past or current involvement in one of these fields:
 
- Research and/or application of EBM,
- Development of clinical guidelines and/or algorithms,
- Coaching of medical or paramedical thesis projects in health sciences higher education,
- Teaching clinical epidemiology /EBM.

Selection criteria

- Personal motivation;
- Involvement in actual or past research / EBM application;
- Scope of professional experience;
- Personal project. Participants are asked to apply with a draft outline of a personal project (different from thesis project for tropEd MIH students);
- Future career perspectives;
- Enrolment in MIH/tropEd curriculum;
- Previous peer-reviewed publications.

Accreditation

This course (component) is accredited by :
TropEd
NVAO

Contact

Course Leader: Johan van Griensven
Coordinator (s): Maria Zolfo
Secretary: Jasmien Adams
SCREM@itg.be
Tel: +32(0)32476666

Credits

The course study load is equivalent to 9 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and accumulation System credits). The Student Investment Time (SIT) is approximately 270 hours. (175 Lecture contact hours / 95 Self-study).