Title: Clinical Research and Evidence-based Medicine (SCREM)
Keywords: Tropical medicine
Research (in general)
Medical & Clinical sciences (EBM incl..)
International / global
Evidence based medicine
Country: Belgium
Institution: Belgium - Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine
Course coordinator: Prof. Dr. Johan van Griensven
Date start: 2019-12-02
Date end: 2020-06-26
About duration and dates: Number of weeks:11 (6 weeks part-time distance learning + 5 weeks full time face-to-face)
Classification: advanced optional
Mode of delivery: Blended-learning
Course location: Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Nationalestraat 155, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
ECTS credit points: 9 ECTS credits
SIT: 270 hours: 111 contact hours and 159 self-study hours, of which 45 during distance learning component
Language: English
Description: At the end of the module the student should be able to

1. Design a research project in the field of aetiology of health problems, effectiveness and efficiency of diagnostics or clinical management and disease prevention in low resource settings;
2. 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;
3. Retrieve relevant published articles related to a research question and evaluate relevance of clinical research results in relation to a concrete low resource setting;
4. Communicate research results to both professional and scientific communities in a written and oral way.

In addition, the participant will gain basic comprehension of

5. Pitfalls of implementation of research projects;
6. Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and ethics in clinical research;
7. 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:
- Portfolio assessment with 1) written weekly assignments (MCQ quizzes) during the distance learning component (30% of the final mark), 2) writing of an executive summary, 500 words (20% of the final mark) and 3) oral presentation of personal research project – max. 10 slides (50% of final mark).

For the written weekly assignments in the distance learning component there are no re-sits. For the executive summary and the oral presentation of the personal project a re-sit is possible with the same requirements, within 4 weeks after the end of the course (if necessary through Skype).
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 in a specific setting, e.g. in a specific low-resource setting, usually the professional contexts of the students, and worked out 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, Reference Manager, Statistical programme (“R”);
8. Seminars:
• Ethical aspects of research;
• Research funding;
• Introduction to principles of GCP.
Methods: The course mainly uses adult learning methods, based on problem oriented Socratic approach (The Socratic Method in Adult Learning is a 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 the 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.
Prerequisites: - 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 (no limit for tropEd students)
Selection: - 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;
- Future career perspectives;
- Enrolment in MPH, (tropEd)MIH or MGH
Fees: 3500 €
Scholarships: Limited number of full scholarships available for applicants from developing countries, priority given to Belgian Development Cooperation (DGD) partner countries (see list on ITM website, www.itg.be).
Major changes since initial accreditation: SCREM programme is since 2014 a blended course: the F2F training has been shortened from 6 to 5 weeks. The students are enrolled in a distance learning training, lasting 6 weeks (45 hours SIT) before to come to ITM for the F2F component.
Online topics delivered interactive written modules and exercises, are:
• Basics of clinical epidemiology
• Intro to EBM; Mendeley use (reference management tool)
• Searching evidence in literature
• Word, Excel and PowerPoint skills for protocol development
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.
Lessons learned: Through systematic group discussions and electronic surveys the course has been adapted part of its content according to the feedback of the students and the relevance of the proposed changes.
Some components of the course (statistical software use and more interactive introduction to clinical epidemiology) are fine-tuned in the current blended SCREM.
tropEd accreditation: First submission Paris, May 2008, re-accreditation 2013, submitted for re-accreditation 2019
Remarks: The face-to-face part of the SCREM usually takes place end of May and June. Applications usually close the 1st of October of the preceding year.
Date Of Record Creation: 2019-08-08 08:14:56 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2019-08-08 12:48:48 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2019-08-08 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2019-10-08 08:19:24 (W3C-DTF)

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