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A Global Crowdsourcing Open Call to Improve Research Mentorship in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Mixed Methods Analysis

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  • 1 University of North Carolina Project-China, Guangzhou, China;
  • | 2 Union College, New York;
  • | 3 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore;
  • | 4 Dermatology Hospital of South Medical University, Guangzhou, China;
  • | 5 Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina;
  • | 6 Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Médicas CIDEIM, Cali, Colombia;
  • | 7 Universidad Icesi, Cali, Colombia;
  • | 8 Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana;
  • | 9 Akwa Ibom State Government, Uyo, Nigeria;
  • | 10 Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom;
  • | 11 Institute of Health and Development Research, Universidad Mayor de San Adres, Plurinational State of Bolivia;
  • | 12 Swiss Paraplegic Research, SCI Population Biobanking and Translational Medicine, Nottwil, Switzerland;
  • | 13 Universitas Gadjah Mada, Center for Tropical Medicine, Yogyakarta, Indonesia;
  • | 14 Clinical Research Department, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
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ABSTRACT.

Research mentoring programs are limited in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The TDR Global initiated a global crowdsourcing open call soliciting proposals on how to improve research mentorship in LMICs. The purpose of this study is to examine ideas submitted to this open call to identify the ways to improve research mentorship in LMICs. Open calls have a group of individuals solve all or part of a problem and then share solutions. A WHO/TDR/SESH crowdsourcing guide was used to structure the open call. Each submission was judged by three independent individuals on a 1–10 scale. Textual submissions were extracted from eligible proposals and qualitatively analyzed via inductive and deductive coding techniques to identify themes. The open call received 123 submissions from 40 countries in Asia (49), Africa (38), Latin America (26), and Europe (10). Among all participants, 108 (87%) had research experience. A total of 21 submissions received a mean score of 7/10 or higher. Our thematic analysis identified three overarching themes related to prementoring, facilitation, and evaluation. Prementoring establishes mentor–mentee compatibility to lay foundations for mentorship. Facilitation involves iterative cycles of planning, communication, and skill improvement. Evaluation creates commitment and accountability within a framework of monitoring. This global crowdsourcing open call generated numerous mentorship ideas, including LMIC-contextualized facilitation tools. The open call demonstrates a need for greater focus on mentorship. Our data may inform the development of formal and informal mentoring programs in LMIC settings.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Joseph D. Tucker, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Project-China, Guangzhou 510095, China. E-mail: jdtucker@med.unc.edu

These authors contributed equally to this manuscript.

Financial support: This study received support from the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and the US NIH (NIAID K24AI143471).

Authors’ addresses: Emmanuela Oppong, University of North Carolina Project-China, Guangzhou, China, and Union College, NY, E-mail: emmanuelaoppong2015@gmail.com. Huanyu Bao, University of North Carolina Project-China, Guangzhou, China, and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore, E-mail: huanyu001@e.ntu.edu.sg. Weiming Tang, University of North Carolina Project-China, Guangzhou, China, Dermatology Hospital of South Medical University, Guangzhou, China, and Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, E-mail: weiming_tang@med.unc.edu. María I. Echavarria Mejia, Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Médicas CIDEIM, Universidad Icesi, Cali, Colombia, E-mail: miechavarria@cideim.org.co. Franklin Glozah, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana, E-mail: fglozah@ug.edu.gh. Nsisong Asanga, Akwa Ibom State Government, Uyo, Nigeria, E-mail: nsisong.asanga@gmail.com. Christine J. Boinett, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom, E-mail: christine.boinett@sanger.ac.uk. Ana M. Aguilar, Institute of Health and Development Research, Universidad Mayor de San Adres, Plurinational State of Bolivia, E-mail: ana.aguilar@umsalud.edu.bo. Ezra Valido, Swiss Paraplegic Research, SCI Population Biobanking and Translational Medicine, Nottwil, Switzerland, E-mail: ezra.valido@gmail.com. Trisasi Lestari, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Center for Tropical Medicine, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, E-mail: trisasilestari@gmail.com. Joseph D. Tucker, University of North Carolina Project-China, Guangzhou, China, Dermatology Hospital of South Medical University, Guangzhou, China, Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, and Clinical Research Department, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom, E-mail: jdtucker@med.unc.edu.

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