Background: Increasing demands, costs and barriers to access to health care, expensive technology, aging population, the burden of infectious and chronic diseases, and lack of correlation between health expenditures and health indicators call for the need to develop local research capacity to tackle health priorities and generate evidence to present to professionals and policymakers. With this vision in mind, in 1996 six former graduates of foreign programs started to design a training program with emphasis in quantitative research methods. This presentation describes the 20-year experience of this program in Argentina
Project: In May 1998, with the support of faculty from Harvard School of Public Health, our program was accredited as a 2 year- Master´s program of the University of Buenos Aires. In April 1999 we started the First class of 56 students in the Program and in 2002 we had our first graduate. Along these years, the PEC intended to promote professional development with knowledge and skills to influence health organizations, both nationally and regionally, provide tools to design and conduct research studies, critically interpret the evidence and design, implement and evaluate the impact of interventions in clinical and epidemiological research, health technology assessment and economic evaluations and quality of care and patient safety using both onsite and distance learning strategies and tools. Our core faculty is constituted by prestigious teachers in the different areas covered in the curriculum and today, many of them are former graduates.
To date, more than 720 students from Argentina and the region have completed the program and occupy featured positions in their institutions. Of 540 who responded a survey, 80% responded that the program impacted positively on their professional careers, 45% incorporated academic or managerial activities to their patient care duties and most would recommend the program to other professionals.
These 20 years have represented an extremely rewarding effort, commitment, and rigor, but also allowed us to dream that contributing to develop capacity on research knowledge and skills and a ¨culture of evaluation¨, a substantial change in the way of thinking about health in Argentina and Latin America is possible.