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Open Access Mentorship for operational research capacity building: hands-on or hands-off?

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Mentorship is a key feature of operational research training courses run by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and Médecins Sans Frontières. During the recent South Pacific paper writing module, the faculty discussed ‘hands-on’ mentorship (direct technical assistance) vs. ‘hands-off’ mentorship (technical advice). This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Our collective experience indicates that ‘hands-on’ mentorship is a valuable learning experience for the participant and a rewarding experience for the mentor. This approach increases the likelihood of successful course completion, including publishing a well written paper. However, mentors must allow participants to lead and take ownership of the paper, in keeping with a first author position.
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Keywords: South Pacific; capacity building; mentorship; operational research

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), Paris, France 2: The Sydney Emerging Infections and Biosecurity Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia 3: School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand 4: College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Fiji National University, Suva, Fiji 5: The Union South-East Asia Regional Office, New Delhi, India 6: National Tuberculosis Programme, Ministry of Health, Suva, Fiji 7: Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, New Caledonia 8: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of TB Elimination, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 9: Department of Statistics, Regional Public Health, Lower Hutt, New Zealand 10: Operational Centre Brussels, Medical Department, Operational Research Unit (LuxOR), Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF-Luxembourg, Luxembourg 11: Centre for International Health, The University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Publication date: 21 June 2014

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  • Public Health Action (PHA), The Union's quarterly open access on-line journal, provides a platform for its mission 'Health solutions for the poor'. PHA addresses the need for show-casing operational research that addresses issues in health systems and services. It publishes high-quality scientific research that provides new knowledge to improve access, equity, quality and efficiency of health systems and services.

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