News Center for Dissemination & Implementation Infectious Disease

New HIGH IRI training program focuses on intersection between D&I Science and Infectious Diseases

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


Part of the HIGH IRI trainee cohort Sept. 2021. See all 2021 Fellows here.

Researchers at the post-doctoral or junior faculty level who are interested in Infectious Disease, HIV and Global Health now have a new, world-class training and mentorship opportunity. Hosted by the Center for Dissemination and Implementation Research at the Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis, the HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Health Implementation Research Institute (HIGH IRI) offers a two-year training and mentorship program focusing on the intersection between D&I Science and Infectious Diseases.

Elvin Geng, MD, director of the Center for Dissemination & Implementation and one of the HIGH IRI faculty leads says that fellows from the U.S., Europe, South America, Asia and Africa participate in the training program, designed to foster professional connections among a group of like-minded, leading-edge researchers who will magnify each other’s impact. Ross Brownson, PhD, the Steven H. and Susan U. Lipstein Distinguished Professor of Public Health also leads the program. Faculty include a diverse array of experts in implementation science methods as well as content areas in infectious diseases. Read more about the program leadership and staff.

“In implementation science, we often say context is king,” says Geng. “Progress against infectious diseases must overcome common barriers including underfunded public health systems and structural inequities. HIGH IRI brings together researchers from diverse backgrounds building a science to implement evidence-based interventions, and addressing infectious diseases whether in St. Louis or elsewhere in the world.”

Instructors and participants agree that D&I Science is an emerging field of inquiry—allied with health systems research, operations research and program science—that offers novel and distinctive perspectives on how to understand and overcome healthcare gaps and advance human health. The training could not come at a more opportune time.

The composition of the trainees and faculty is unlike similar programs. Such diversity of perspectives is very much needed and likely to foster a greater understanding of the boundaries of implementation science; and, the trainees are potentially the immediate beneficiaries of such understanding.

Dr. Olakunle Alonge, MD, PhD, MPH, associate professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University and HIGH IRI Fellow
Part two of the HIGH IRI training cohort

HIGH IRI training is a great mix of didactic learning, discussion and time for smaller group discussion and feedback from faculty and fellows from many different contexts. I found the discussions around the application of implementation science theories and frameworks in practical scenarios very useful. Recently, I received an NIH K43 grant that has an implementation science focus. HIGH IRI has already helped me to think critically about my aims and research approach.

Tamsin Phillips, PhD, senior lecturer in the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town and HIGH IRI Fellow

Since my organization (the Institute of HIV Research and Innovation in Bangkok, Thailand) is a regionally-recognized training and research institute, the HIGH IRI program at Washington University will enable me to help build capacity in implementation science among researchers, program implementers, and community partners in Thailand and the Asia-Pacific. I look forward to learning more about implementation tools and strategies focusing on low- and middle-income settings, which in turn, will facilitate the conduct of relevant implementation science studies in my setting and region. This program also provides numerous opportunities for professional network building with other regional and global Implementation Science researchers, and I hope these will result in fruitful collaborations in the field.

Reshmie Ramautarsing, M.D., Ph.D., technical director, Institute of HIV Research and Innovation and HIGH IRI Fellow based in Bangkok, Thailand

Read more about the HIGH IRI training program, faculty and fellows, and curriculum.

The 2021 training program is currently underway; however, interested researchers can contact Jamie Macon at highiri@wustl.edu for more information about applying to the 2022 program.