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Dr. Lawrence Mbuagbaw, a research methodologist and clinical epidemiologist in the Research Institute of St. Joe’s Father Sean O’Sullivan Research Centre (FSORC), has recently returned from a one month fellowship at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Mbuagbaw completed the fellowship as part of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, established in 2013.

This year, the Carnegie program paired 55 scholars with one of 43 higher education institutions and collaborators in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda to work together on curriculum co-development. The program matches host universities with African-born scholars and covers the expenses for the project visits.

“I try to take these opportunities to collaborate in Africa whenever I can,” said Dr. Mbuagbaw, who was born and raised in Cameroon, where he earned his MD from the University of Yaoundé 1. This was Mbuagbaw’s first time participating in the Carnegie program.

Professor Peter Nyasulu welcomed the opportunity to host Dr. Mbuagbaw as a visiting fellow to help Stellenbosch University with capacity building of their recently-established MSc in Biostatistics Program. The University is focused on growing local and regional capacity in quantitative methodologies and statistical analysis – Mbuagbaw’s areas of expertise.

“Biostatics capacity is in short supply on the African continent and many efforts are underway to train more biostatisticians. They are critical members of any research team,” Mbuagbaw said. “Through the Carnegie fellowship, African-born researchers in the diaspora are able to match their skill set with institutional needs and visit these institutions to build capacity.”

Dr. Mbuagbaw’s activities while in Cape Town included giving lectures, hosting seminars and workshops, curriculum development, and providing one-on-one mentorship to grad students of the biostatistics and clinical epidemiology programs. As well, he began to co-supervise a Stellenbosch PhD student, a role he will continue from Canada.

Dr. Mbuagbaw leads a seminar at Stellenbosch University.

Mbuagbaw noted that one of his major goals during the fellowship was to impart his experience in writing grant proposals. As an author of several grant proposals that were collectively awarded over $1.5 million in funding support, Mbuagbaw’s expertise will go a long way for Stellenbosch University.

Overall, these efforts will enhance the career growth of students in the MSc Biostatistics Program at Stellenbosch.

According to Dr. Jimmy Volmink, the fellowship program helped contribute to the “development and implementation of new core selective modules in Biostatistics for the [MSc] degree.” Volmink is Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University.

In addition to his research and his role at St. Joseph’s, Mbuagbaw is an assistant professor at McMaster University in the department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact. There, he is teaching an introductory biostatistics graduate course, and another course on statistical and methodological issues in randomized clinical trials. As well, Dr. Mbuagbaw is supervising two PhD candidates at McMaster, and sits on several thesis committees.

>> Learn more about the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program on their website, and check out the full list of 2018 projects, hosts, and scholars.

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