IDASH Program Launches for Eastern Europe/Central Asia Region
On April 3, the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) launched the Informatics and Data Science for Health (IDASH) fellowship training program with an in-person workshop in Tbilisi, Georgia. The program launched in partnership with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CDC/EECA) Regional Office, the World Health Organization (WHO) Europe, and country governments.
The first IDASH cohort includes 20 fellows from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Participants include mid- to senior-level technical, analytical, and public health staff working at the national level in public health informatics or data science.
“After several whirlwind months of collaboration and engagement with stakeholders from the five countries, it’s amazing to welcome the first cohort of IDASH to Tbilisi for the first of three in-person workshops,” said Stacey Lissit, MPH, MS, Senior Technical Advisor for the IDASH program.
Fellows will participate in a 12-month in-service training program, in which each country team of four fellows will identify and develop a collaborative project. Fellows will receive sustained mentorship, and regional communities of practice will be established to ensure regional collaboration, share lessons learned and best practices, and establish linkages for future programming needs that span multiple countries. The goal is to extend benefits beyond the trainees to partner agencies and organizations, as well as other country contexts.
IDASH provides the opportunity to link learning to experience, and enables the application of new skills, knowledge, and techniques acquired from the training in a real-life context. Proposed fellowship projects include automating data analysis and visualization for diseases, expanding digital immunization registries beyond COVID-19, and developing spatial analysis modules for multi-disease surveillance and response.
“Today, the afternoon of the 4th day, the room is buzzing as the five country teams are hard at work: two engrossed in consultation with our facilitation team of public health informatics and data science experts about their country team projects; the others working on a data science methods exercise, practicing interpretation of descriptive and inferential statistics plots to assess trends in Hepatitis C,” said Ms. Lissit. “The energy and engagement have been high, and we’re looking forward to the next six days and the rest of the year-long fellowship.”