Title: Short course in Clinical Research and Evidence-based Medicine (SCREM)
Keywords: Tropical medicine
Research (in general)
Medical & Clinical sciences (EBM incl..)
International / global
Biomedical sciences/disciplines
Country: Belgium
Institution: Belgium - Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine
Course coordinator: Prof. dr. Lutgarde Lynen
Date start: 2017-12-04
Date end: 2018-06-29
About duration and dates: Number of weeks:11. 6 weeks distance learning + 5 weeks Face-to-Face
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Blended-learning
Course location: At distance and at ITM (Antwerp) for F2F component
ECTS credit points: 9 ECTS credits
111 contact hours and 159 self-study hours
Language: English

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 aetiology of health problems, effectiveness and efficiency of diagnostics, clinical management and disease prevention in low resource settings;
C. Apply principles of 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.
Assessment Procedures:
Evaluation consists of the following assessment methods:

- MCQs quizzes for the distance learning component;
- literature review (inclusion/exclusion criteria of citations; search strategy; consulted databases; ranking of evidence; articles retrieval), abstract formulation (max 500 words), critical reading and personal project (development of research protocol or guidelines formulation), all equally contributing to 70% of final mark; and
- Individual oral presentation of final research protocol (max 10 slides), marked by an expert panel, accounting for 30% of final mark.
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 (abstract) 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, Reference Manager, Statistical program (Stata, Epi Info, or SPSS);
8. Seminars:
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOP);
- Ethical aspects of research;
- Research funding;
- Introduction to principles of GCP.
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.
- Holders of a medical or a paramedical university degree of min 240 ECTS credits;
- Minimum of two years professional experience in the clinical field;
- Past or current involvement in one of these fields:
o Research and/or application of EBM,
o Development of clinical guidelines and/or algorithms,
o Coaching of medical or paramedical thesis projects in health sciences higher education,
o Teaching clinical epidemiology /EBM.

- 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;
- Computer skills: Word, PowerPoint, Excel (basics);
- 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.
Attendance: Max 20 participants

- 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.
Fees: 3500 Euro
Scholarships: Limited number of full scholarships available for applicants from Belgian Development Cooperation (DGD) partner countries (see list on ITM website, www.itg.be).
Major changes since initial accreditation:
SCREM programme is starting from 2014, a blended course: the F2F training is shortened to 5 weeks. The students are enrolled in a distance learning training, lasting 6 weeks (45 SIT) before to come to ITM for the F2F component.
Online topics delivered as webcasts and/or interactive written modules and exercises, are:
- Word, Excel and PowerPoint skills for protocol development
- intro to EBM; Mendeley use (reference management tool)
- Searching evidence in literature
- Basics of clinical epidemiology
Student evaluation:
The course and specifically the teaching methodology (problem oriented Socratic approach) has been very much appreciated all along by the SCREM students. The course is labelled as very interactive (very rich in brainstorming, group discussions, on the spot feedback to students’ presentations, etc) and the ITM environment is perceived as very conducive for the participants to fully understand the topics delivered during the course, needed for the formulation of the research protocol and/or guidelines delivery. The students’ overall appreciation of the course has been always between "excellent" and "very good" on a Likert scale.
However, generic skills training (i.e. specific use of Word, Excel, PowerPoint) can better be done at own need, pace and time, if delivered as distance learning tutorials.
Lessons learned:
Through systematic group discussions and electronic surveys the course has been adapting part of its content according to the feedback of the students and the relevance of the proposed changes.
Some components of the course (critical reading; Stata; and more interactive introduction to clinical epidemiology) are fine-tuned in the current blended SCREM.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in Copenhagen, September 2008. Re-accredited in Umea, January 2014. This accreditation is valid until January 2019.
ITM has a consolidated and successful experience in delivering distance learning courses.
In order to reduce the costs, length of stay and efficacy of the F2F training, an in-depth analysis of the SCREM programme and evaluation by former students have highlighted topics which can be easily delivered at distance, with interactive spoken or written online modules, through the Moodle Learning Management System.

Application deadline: 2017-10-01
Email Address: gvheusden@itg.be
Date Of Record Creation: 2011-11-21 01:38:44 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2011-11-21 02:43:50 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2017-07-20 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2017-10-10 04:42:19 (W3C-DTF)

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