The American University of Beirut (AUB) was awarded a four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2012 to establish a new interdisciplinary program, the Scholars in HeAlth Research Program (SHARP). The NIH granted 14 full awards of which only two were outside the US, AUB being one of them.
SHARP launched at the American University of Beirut in 2013, with the main goal to advance the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) agenda in Lebanon and the region.
Spearheaded by Dr. Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan, principal investigator and program director, SHARP is an interfaculty collaborative effort involving co-investigators from several faculties across AUB. The program administers a 12-credit summer diploma, open to graduates of health fields, as well as a 35-credit master’s degree. Credits earned for the SHARP certificate can also be credited towards other master’s degrees at AUB and to other institutions worldwide.
Both the SHARP diploma and the SHARP master program equip participants with the skills to conduct clinical and epidemiological research in Non-Communicable Diseases, the leading cause of mortality in the world.
SHARP provides graduates with the required foundation to pursue a career in clinical and translational research, a successful model available in several top-tier academic institutions in the US, and among the first in the region. It helps create and sustain a cadre of highly trained researchers who will conduct patient-oriented and population-oriented studies on Non-Communicable Diseases. It also equips trainees with management and leadership skills needed to become “change agents” and lead research groups, academic departments, or other health care settings.
Since its launch, SHARP has filled a major gap and spans short-, intermediate-, and long-term research training in the region.
Building on the pillars of its core curriculum, SHARP has been granted a five-year renewal from the NIH to expand its impact with new aims and activities. These aims reflect dynamic changes in our societies, national health priorities, advances in information technology, and the health research landscape.
SHARP Instructional strategies in the blended format will be founded on educational technologies that answer students’ needs while retaining authenticity of content quality. Courses content will be delivered through a series of highly interactive lectures where students will be given the opportunity to interact with the content and explore a specific topic. Complex topics will be delivered through more varied formats such as animated videos. As part of their learning, students will also be involved in highly engaging activities that foster real life conversations and skills that are at the heart of leaning.
The mission of the Scholars in HeAlth Research Program (SHARP) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) is "to provide superior didactic education complemented with state-of-the-art interactive and practical training in health research, with a focus on non-communicable diseases research. It is intended for physicians and other health care professionals, to improve and advance the health care agenda for non-communicable diseases in Lebanon and the region."
- Specific Aim 1: Redesign and deliver the Summer Diploma into a Blended format to enhance flexibility
- Specific Aim 2: Develop and deliver new advanced quantitative methods modules such as Introduction to Data Science, Global Health and Cardiovascular Diseases, Longitudinal Correlated Measures and Survival Analyses
- Specific Aim 3: Launch a unique mentorship and Career Advancement Network Program (SHARP CAN)
- Specific Aim 4: In conjunction with a formal SHARP Research Fellowship Grant Program, to complete an NCD project