Dr. Dale Williams
While working at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB), Dr. Dale Williams has been helping lead a research training programme in India to develop a cadre of researchers in clinical, operational, health services and prevention science research focused on NCDs.
Collaborating with the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF) in Chennai, the programme has included a national seminar involving trainees from throughout India, intensive training workshops, video conferences and special courses for MDRF faculty and staff. In addition to research methodology, trainees are taught data management, sample handling systems and basic science research skills. Together, they've created the Indian NCD Network as a formal entity to provide clinical research training that can support research and prevention programmes to combat the diabetes epidemic. Over 63 million people in India have diabetes, with about 32 million people with undiagnosed diabetes. Part of the programme’s strategy is to ensure that the impact of diabetes in India is understood and methods are developed to address the issue.
Awareness of diabetes and NCDs in India however has come a long way since the 1980s. Dr Williams visited India as part of a WHO delegation during that time to assess awareness of NCDs and found it difficult to get people to think about the issue. Now, it is very encouraging that awareness in the country is growing and NCDs are being tackled in an aggressive way. As evidence of the Indian government's more serious approach, it has started an on-going national study that focuses on diabetes prevalence and risk factors in both urban and rural areas of the country.
Dr. Williams is working with three other institutions that have organised workshops and are developing faculty that will work all over India. More than 750 researchers have attended training sessions overall.