INTRODUCTION

As the principal Regional Public Health Agency for the Caribbean, one of CARPHA’s core functions is to conduct relevant research on public health priorities in the Caribbean. The Research, Training and Policy Development Unit of CARPHA also has a mandate to Promote research for health; Advise Governments and other stakeholders on research for health; Strengthen National and Regional Health Research Systems; Develop mechanisms to support priority research; and Promote the sharing of the Region’s Scientific outputs. These directives are addressed in all the Unit’s functions.

CARPHA’s Annual Health Conference is the ideal forum for sharing research findings as well as facilitating collaboration between researchers and policy makers. It is the largest health research Conference in the Caribbean.

The Agency’s development and promotion of the Health Research Policy for the Caribbean and the Health Research Agenda for the Caribbean are two key mechanisms to strengthen National and Regional Health Research Systems. The policy provides a proposed structure of national and regional health research systems and strategies to strengthen them, while the Research Agenda identifies the health research priorities for the Caribbean. Both are to be adopted or adapted by CARPHA Member States.

The Research Grants Programme and the Training Workshops (Basic Research Skills, Data Management and Analysis, Research Ethics and Grant Writing) are instrumental in building health research capacity in the Caribbean.

ANNUAL HEALTH RESEARCH CONFERENCE


Overview

The Annual Research Conference is the flagship activity of the CARPHA and has been successfully hosted every year since 1956. Usually held the third week in April, it is the largest health research conference in the English speaking Caribbean with over 200 delegates in attendance. The latter comprise researchers, policy makers and health care providers thus creating a unique network of health stakeholders who share needs, information and experiences.


The Conference venue is rotated throughout the Caribbean and is often hosted in exotic settings that facilitate a special camaraderie among delegates. Collaborations are spawned not only among researchers but with all stakeholders.


Highlights of the Conference include keynote lectures and the Awards Banquet. In addition, the unique gathering of health professionals provides an excellent opportunity for the hosting of meetings of professional associations and the hosting of training workshops. Groups such as the Caribbean Association of Nephrologists and Urologists (CANU) and institutions such as CAREC have made good use of this opportunity over the years. Indeed, CARPHA reserves the second afternoon of the Conference for the hosting of satellite meetings.


Upcoming Conference

The 60th Annual CARPHA Health Research Conference will be held in Grenada from June 25th to June 27th, 2015. The theme for 2015 is Violence and Injuries: An Urgent Public Health and Development Issue. However, we will also accept quality research papers in all priority health areas (e.g. NCD, HIV, Environmental Health, Health Systems, etc.)
Violence and Injuries comprise topics such as intentional and unintentional injuries including interpersonal and domestic violence, sexual abuse, suicide; mental health; risk factors including drug and alcohol use/misuse; their health and socioeconomic consequences; preventive efforts and strategies; etc.

Health RESEARCH AGENDA

CARPHA has collaborated with its stakeholders and developed a Health Research Agenda for the Caribbean. The crafting of the Agenda was guided by the latest edition of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH III). The latter defines the health priorities of the Caribbean and comprises eight Programme Areas.
 
One of the objectives of the Agenda is to guide the conduct of research so as to facilitate the evidence-informed implementation of the CCH III as well as other activities identified as priority by Caribbean countries. The Agenda will therefore identify priority areas for research to provide results that then can guide the development of policies, programmes and best practices. 

CARPHA encourages all the Caribbean health research stakeholders, especially those involved in the conduct and funding of research to embrace the Agenda and contribute to its implementation.

Download Health Research Agenda

health RESEARCH policy

CARPHA has developed a Health Research Policy for the Caribbean. The goal of the Policy is to guide the strengthening of systems so as to increase the production, access and use of essential research and thus facilitate the crafting of evidence-based health policies, programmes and practices. The key components of the Policy document include the proposed structure for health research systems in the Caribbean (at the national and regional levels) and strategies to promote their strengthening. It is expected that it will be adopted (or adapted) by CARPHA Member States and thus provide the necessary framework as they continue the process of developing/strengthening functional national health research systems.

Download Health Research Policy

TRAINING WORKSHOPS


Basic Research Skills

The objective of the Basic Research Skills Workshop is to introduce participants to the fundamentals of research methodology. They are aimed at the health professional who may not have a strong research background but is positioned to conduct and use health research to facilitate their work. Although we don’t expect that the participants would leave the 3-day Workshop as senior researchers, we endeavor to provide them with a foundation so they may be able to conduct small research studies with support from professionals.

We expect that the participants would collaborate with other persons, especially established researchers who should serve as mentors as they develop their skills.

The Workshop is participatory in style and participants are given exercises to complete after short presentations. The topics covered include:

  • The Research Question
  • Study Designs
  • Sampling
  • Sample Size Determination
  • Measurements
  • Data Analysis and Presentation
  • Data Collection Tools
  • Research Ethics
  • Preparing a Research Protocol
  • Writing a Research Report

Data Management Analysis

The objectives of the Data Management and Analysis Workshop are to enable the participants to develop an appreciation for the need for data analyses; appreciate key data processing and analysis issues; develop practical skills in the use of a statistical software (Epi Info 7) for data processing and the conduct of basic analyses; and identify and conduct the most appropriate analyses for different types of data.
One of the more important features of this workshop is its practical approach with each participant being assigned tasks that they have to address using the computer. They are encouraged to use skills gained when they return to their work environment.



Research Ethics

The aims of the Research Ethics Workshops are to build capacity in countries to enable the establishment of national research ethics committees are well as to contribute to the growing awareness of the importance of ethics in health research. Participants include researchers as well as persons who are expected to serve on the national ethics committees. A mock meeting of an Ethics Committee is also held for participants to experience how they operate.

Topics covered in this workshop include:

  • Introduction to Research Ethics
  • History and Principles of Research Ethics
  • Making Risk-Potential Benefit assessments
  • Informed Consent
  • Ethics in Epidemiological, genetic and Social Sciences Research
  • Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Special populations – Women and Minorities
  • Overview of Ethics in International Research
  • Research Ethics Committees

Grant Writing

The principal objective of the workshop is to strengthen the skills of researchers in writing proposals that are competitive and attractive to funding agencies. Such support is critical for Caribbean researchers to enable them to achieve a higher success rate in securing research grants, especially from international sources.

The workshop covers the content and presentation of the science and other information required by funding agencies. Emphasis is given to specific sections of the grant proposal that are known to be particularly challenging such as statistical issues, budgets and the crafting of abstracts that are attention grabbing but factual.

It also addresses the ways in which proposals can be written so they are complete, clear and coherent. The importance of investigating and conforming to the requirements and policies of research funders when preparing grant proposals is also stressed. Participants are also provided with details of the assessment process and criteria used by agencies such as the CARPHA in judging grant applications.

clinical guidelines

Consistent with its mandate to promote the use of research evidence to inform practice, CARPHA has developed clinical guidelines for the management of the conditions of greatest public health importance in the Caribbean. These protocols are based on international best practice but are fashioned to take the culture, economic situation and health systems in the Caribbean into account.


  • Managing Diabetes in Primary Care (currently under revision) in the Caribbean comprises management guidelines based on current knowledge and best practice. It is hoped that these guidelines would be systematically applied and thus lead to improved care and outcomes in persons with diabetes in the Caribbean. These guidelines were developed in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

  • Pocket Edition of the CARPHA/PAHO Clinical Guidelines for Managing Diabetes in Primary Care in the Caribbean is a streamlined and updated version of the Diabetes Guidelines. It comprises eight folded panels and is designed to be very user-friendly in the clinical settings. The development of the pocket guidelines was a successful partnership between CARPHA and the Trinidad and Tobago Health Sciences Initiative (TTHSI), working in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine. There is also an accompanying video that presents an overview of the Guidelines.

  • Managing Hypertension in Primary Care in the Caribbean (currently under revision) provides a straightforward approach to the diagnosis as well as the management of hypertension at the primary care level. It stresses the importance of non-drug or lifestyle management as a necessary prerequisite and the need to educate patients, families and the community. It also offers the scope to rationalize and standardize management providing evidence-based recommendations as far as possible. It is envisioned that these guidelines will be applied systematically and thus lead to improved care and outcomes in persons with hypertension in the Caribbean. These guidelines were developed in collaboration with PAHO.

  • Managing Asthma in the Caribbean was developed to improve the care provided for patients with asthma. This would be accomplished through improved diagnostic and monitoring skills; better and more appropriate use of available medications to alleviate symptoms and control the condition over the long term; and involving the patient and his/her family in managing and preventing the condition. These guidelines were developed in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI).

  • Managing Depression in Primary Care in the Caribbean was developed to improve the management of patients with depression who present to primary care practitioners. This is to be accomplished through improved diagnostic and monitoring skills; better and more appropriate use of available medications to alleviate symptoms and control the condition over the long term; and involving the patient and his/her family in managing and preventing the condition. These guidelines are especially important since depression in a primary care setting seldom presents with the classic symptoms of the psychiatrically depressed patient.

  • Maternal Care in Pregnancy guidelines outlines the standard of care expected to result in the reduction pregnancy related morbidity and mortality in the Region. The guidelines were developed in collaboration with the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine It provides an easy to read reference designed for the primary care practitioners and aims to facilitate the effective first line actions and appropriate referrals.

  • Neonatal Care Guidelines - Currently being developed

RESEARCH GRANTS PROGRAMME

“Please note that there is a temporary moratorium of the regular CARPHA Research Grants programme due to funding constraints. The situation will be reviewed later this year to determine when the program will resume.  We apologise for any inconvenience.”


Cancer Research

Co-funding collaboration between the Center for Global Health (CGH) of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). The purpose is to support awards to Caribbean investigators for cancer research in the Caribbean. 6 Awards have been awarded at $25,000.00 USD per year over two years for each award (total $50,000.00 for two years). The recipients can be seen below.

Curt Bodkyn - UWI, Trinidad and Tobago - RAPID CONFIRMATION OF ACUTE PROMYELOCYTIC LEUKEMIA (APL) DIAGNOSIS BY IMMUNOFLUORESCENCE STAINING WITH AN ANTIPROMYELOCYTIC LEUKEMIA ANTIBODY IN THE CARIBBEAN COUNTRIES

Rupika Delgoda - UWI, Jamaica - IDENTIFYING NOVEL CANCER TREATMENT AND PREVENTION LEADS FROM THE JAMAICAN BIODIVERSITY

Judith Hurley - University of Miami, USA - THE IMPACT OF BRCA TESTING ON TRINIDADIAN WOMEN WITH BREAST & OVARIAN CANCER

Maria Jackson - UWI, Jamaica - METABOLIC AND NUTRITIONAL OUTCOMES & LIVED EXPERIENCES OF PROSTATE CANCER SURVIVORS IN JAMAICA: A PILOT STUDY

Elizabeth Serieux - Native of St. Lucia/University of Georgia, USA - A QUASI-EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATION INTO USING TEXT MESSAGING AND PRINTED LEAFLETS TO DELIVER SIMPLE HABIT BASED ADVICE FOR WEIGHT CONTROL IN ST. LUCIA

Kamilah Thomas-Purcell - Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation/St. George’s University, Grenada - PERSPECTIVES ON THE UPTAKE OF BREAST, CERVICAL & PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING IN THE ENGLISH SPEAKING WINDWARD ISLANDS: A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH


Purpose

CARPHA’s Research Grants Programme is one of its mechanisms to build health research capacity in the Caribbean. It is a facility whereby junior/budding researchers are given funding to assist in the conduct of small studies. Often, these studies are expanded on the basis of the initial findings into larger projects for which support may be sought from funding agencies with larger budgets. Projects proposals are expected to address areas identified as Regional priority as defined by the Caribbean Cooperation in Health (CCH). The priority program areas for CCH III are:

  • Chronic Diseases
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Family & Community Health
  • Mental Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Strengthening Health Systems
  • Human Resource Development

Eligibility

Any worker in the Caribbean who proposes to study a problem, which is related to the health of the Caribbean people, is eligible to apply for a research grant. However, priority is given to young/budding researchers or established researchers who are mentoring a junior.

The proposal for research should be submitted to a research ethics committee or to the Chief Medical Officer for the country in which the proposed research will occur. Written documentation of the ethics approval from the appropriate authority for the research to proceed should be provided on submission of the application to CARPHA.


Format and Timing of Applications

Applications must be made on the requisite forms (available on this website). They are reviewed at meetings of the Research Advisory Committee of the CARPHA held in January, April and October of each year. Deadline for submissions of proposals to be reviewed at these meetings are:

  • November 1st
  • March 1st
  • September 1st

Use of Funds

Grants are not intended to replace existing resources or necessarily to meet the entire cost of research projects.
Note that the CARPHA will NOT provide:

  • Administrative costs
  • The cost of unspecified research
  • Standard laboratory apparatus
  • Long-term technical support

Equipment

Large items of equipment bought with CARPHA funds remain the property of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). CARPHA, at the termination of a project, may request that such equipment be returned, for use by other researchers. However, if grantees wish to use the equipment for other studies, they may apply to CARPHA for permission to do so.

Reports

One of the conditions of the awards is that annual reports must be presented. Depending on the length of the grant, progress reports should be submitted every six (6) months. The final report should comprise the following:

  • Abstract (1 page)
  • Executive Summary (3 pages)
  • Full Research Report (no more than 25 pages)
  • >Introduction
    >Methods
    >Results
    >Discussion References
    >Tables/Figures
    >Implications for Practice(specify target audience)
    >Implications for Policy (specify target audience)
    >Directions for Future Research

The Executive Summary/Abstract of research studies funded by the CARPHA will be posted on its website.


Publications

All publications arising from research conducted using funds from the CARPHA should acknowledge that support.

Value of Awards

The CARPHA will not normally make grants in excess of US$10,000.

other funding opportunities


The Fogarty International Center

The Fogarty International Center, the international component of the NIH, addresses global health challenges through innovative and collaborative research and training programs with a focus on international partnerships. Caribbean researchers are particularly encouraged to visit the website regularly to identify opportunities.


National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA

One of the largest health research funding agencies in the world, the NIH principally supports researchers from the USA. However there are opportunities for Caribbean researchers, primarily through collaborations with US institutions and colleagues. A few relevant Institutes include:


Medical Research Council (MRC), UK

The MRC principally supports UK-based researchers - apart from its investments in its overseas Units in Africa. Whilst overseas researchers cannot be principal investigators on a grant application, they may be included in a proposal as a co-investigator, subject to prior discussion with the MRC and where invited to do so e.g. where the nature of the research makes this necessary. Further information on how to apply for MRC funding is available via the website. The MRC Applicant’s Handbook is available as a guide.


The Wellcome Trust (UK)

The Wellcome Trust is one of the larger health research funding agencies in the world. Although, their role is primarily to support the work of UK researchers, there are opportunities for other persons such as from the Caribbean such as through collaborations with UK colleagues. Caribbean researchers seeking funding are encouraged to periodically browse the site to determine what is available.


Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) Grant Programme

The Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER) Grant Programme is designed for mentored early-stage investigators to advance paediatric HIV research and to fill critical knowledge gaps related to infants, children and adolescents affected by HIV. Scientific areas of interest include both clinical and operational research. The implementation of the CIPHER Grant Programme was made possible through an unrestricted grant from ViiV Healthcare. The content and structure of the programme has been guided by paediatric experts convened by the IAS