Global Health Research in Africa: Inspiration, Innovation, and Implementation

The University of Virginia and the University of Venda hosted a joint symposium in March 2017 emanating from more than 15 years of research collaboration between the two institutions. The International Symposium on Global Health Research in Africa joined together the African D43 FRAME training programs in an exchange of ideas under the theme: Inspiration, Innovation, and Implementation. These key aspects necessary for success in improving health and equity in health were the basis for workshops, panels, and presentations. 
The symposium offered an unparalleled opportunity for past and present fellows and mentors to come together to share research, discuss best practices and lessons learned, and discover new opportunities for future research collaborations. More than 90 attendees from 6 countries and 8 universities participated in the conference. Participants also had the opportunity to meet with representatives from 7 funding agencies in Africa and receive personalized feedback on their research. 
WHIL Innovations fellow, Dr. Angelina Maphula highlighted the impact of the symposium,
“We have discussions that may lead to new ideas to address global health issues. It is an opportunity to exchange ideas and to bring change through multidisciplinary research.” 
The symposium also provided an opportunity for the GIDRT pre-doctoral fellows to receive mentorship from post-doctoral fellows, share their research, and to learn about relevant funding opportunities to not only continue their current research projects, but also to form new partnerships to further the impact of their work. The Vice Chancellor of the University of Venda, Professor Mbati, commented,
“These programs provide an enabling environment for the mentoring of pre-doctoral and postdoctoral students from the University of Venda on global health research. Furthermore, through the interactions of faculty and staff of the University of Venda and the University of Virginia, the research infrastructure and processes are strengthened for outputs of higher quality.”