News Center for Dissemination & Implementation Infectious Disease

HIGH-IRI marks a successful first year of training and collaboration

Written by Kim Furlow, manager of the Institute for Public Health

The HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Health Implementation Research Institute (HIGH-IRI) is a training program facilitated by the Center for Dissemination and Implementation at the Institute for Public Health. HIGH-IRI focuses on the intersection between dissemination & implementation science and infectious diseases. The training institute has just completed its first year of delivering world-class training and mentorship while fostering professional connections among a group of like-minded, leading-edge researchers.

HIGH-IRI’s first cohort is comprised of Fellows from numerous institutions around the world, including Harvard, Vanderbilt, the University of Washington, Makerere University in Uganda, and the London School of Tropical Medicine, among others. Mentoring faculty is comprised of 16 leading D&I experts including: Ross Brownson, David Dowdy, Rani Elwy, JoAnn Kirchner, Mosa Moshabela, and Anne Sales, just to name a few.

During its first year, HIGH-IRI was comprised of two, virtual, one-week, in-residence training and networking periods—one in the fall and one in spring. Program staff are currently in the process of planning their first in-person training session for September of 2022. The trainings include presentations by special guest speakers on themes such as, “Opportunities for Implementation Science”; “Critical Elements & Tools for Practicing Implementation” and Challenges to Conducting D&I Research in Low/Middle Income Countries”. In between the fall and spring in-person trainings, HIGH-IRI faculty mentors work remotely with trainees to develop research projects and successful funding proposals. Faculty seek to supplement existing mentorship relationships in the trainee’s home institution, particularly for implementation research.

HIGH-IRI Coordinator, Jaimie Macon, says because of its networking and valuable connections made, the first year of HIGH-IRI’s international program has been “remarkable” for the faculty and 18 Fellows. “We also have quarterly workshops and monthly pod meetings within the group,” says Macon. “Our trainees have had many opportunities to connect with their peers and mentoring faculty to gain knowledge and insight about their professional and personal development.”

Another notable part of the HIGH-IRI program is its annual award to the Nancy Czaicki Scholar. Read more about Czaicki’s legacy here. A memorial fund established in Africa in Czaicki’s name is the basis for the award, which aims to continue her vision and passion through education, capacity building and research to improve the health and well-being of those affected by infectious disease.

This first cohort’s Nancy Czaicki Scholar is Tamsin Phillips, who joins HIGH-IRI from University of Cape Town in South Africa.

The HIGH-IRI fellowship has directly influenced the first aim of my research project, ensuring that my qualitative data collection tools and processes incorporate the implementation constructs that will be needed to inform future steps of the study. I have found the HIGH-IRI fellowship to be a very valuable resource, network and protected space for furthering my skills in implementation and dissemination. I would highly recommend this program to other early career researchers.

Tamsin Phillips, PhD, HIGH-IRI 2021 Nancy Czaicki Scholar; senior lecturer, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town

The second HIGH-IRI cohort is forming now and will begin its training in September, 2022.  

Coordinator, Jamie Macon says, “We plan to add 14-16 more fellows for the second cohort. Moving forward, one of our goals is to find ways to offer even more peer-to-peer interactions.” Macon recommends that additional cohort members apply.

The field of dissemination and implementation (D&I) science is growing, and the HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Health Implementation Research Institute seeks to help this scientific community find novel solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing our global population.

Jamie Macon, HIGH-IRI coordinator