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Immaculate Mbarusha
Country Uganda
Job Title Study Coordinator
Date of Scholarship August-September 2011
Host Country Seattle, Washington, USA
Scholarship Clinical Research Training



The training for which I received funding from the HIV Research Trust focused on:

  • Exposure to practical research experiences in varied settings.
  • Provide opportunities to share experiences and challenges with international collaborators.
  • Augment my skills as a study coordinator, creating a stronger research organisation at the UCI.
  • Motivate me to pursue advanced research training in the future.

The training was tailored to my current Study Coordinator position at the Uganda Program on Cancer and Infectious Diseases (UPCID). It consisted of six major areas; Principles of HIV/STD Research, operations research, computer software training, leadership & management, clinical research coordination and community education.

The Principles of STD/HIV course integrated several tracks; epidemiology, prevention and public health, research issues with clinical implications, pathogenesis, biostatistics, and issues in behavioral research. Additional topics included; choosing a mentor, using qualitative methods in research, writing and publishing scientific manuscripts, ethics in research with human subjects, grant writing, and operations research. I also attained knowledge/skills in the area of non-clinical research which are crucial in supporting clinical research. Furthermore, I was able to advance my understanding of operations research theory and methodology with the goal of improving the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery strategies of health programs and clinical research.

Computer training included:

  • Microsoft Word 2007; Layout and styles
  • Microsoft Excel 2007; working with formulas, linking techniques, Data analysis and management
  • Power Point 2007; Design techniques, preparation and presentation
  • Data protection techniques in all programs

Management and leadership skills training included:

  • Personal and social styles of communication
  • Effective communication
  • Conflict management
  • Leadership and self awareness
  • Giving feedback
  • Getting things done through others

Study coordination training augmented my knowledge/skills in the imperative aspects of research operations. Topics covered included:

  • Enhancing clinic operations in preparation for clinical trials
  • Standard operating procedures
  • Data management
  • Quality management plan
  • Safety monitoring and reporting
  • Protocol structured analysis and inclusive research budgeting
  • Handling site communications
  • Conflict of interest
  • Creation of an informed consent database

From the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), I attained knowledge and experience tailored to clinical trials in areas such as community education, community mobilization, community Advisory Boards, participant recruitment and retention plus ethics in clinical trials. I also visited the HVTU where I received a comprehensive representation of how to effectively implement clinical trials in a limited space; a setting similar to my work place.

Given my recent promotion to study coordinator, this training was timely and has definitely expanded my knowledge and skills in clinical research. I will share these skills with my colleagues to ensure quality research in clinical trials. This training has also motivated me to enhance my career by pursuing a Masters in Public Health.

I would like to thank the HIV Research Trust for granting me this opportunity, the team in Seattle for their hospitality and zeal in my training and my family i.e. my husband John, children Andrew and Anna for their fortitude in my absence and my Mother Anastasia for her care.


2018 Timeline

  • Online application for 2019 scholarships open September 2018
  • 2019 scholarships announced late December 2018



If you are interested in applying for a scholarship find out more below:



The scholarships are for health care professionals in early/mid-career who are located in resource-limited settings from low-income and lower-middle-income countries working in the field of HIV infection. Read more to see if you are eligible.