Bangalore Boston Nutrition Collaborative (BBNC)

St. John’s Research Institute (SJRI) in conjunction with the Harvard School of Public Health and Tufts University offers an interdisciplinary two-week course at SJRI. This International Nutrition Research Methods Course introduces students to public health research topics through critical evaluation of scientific literature and exploration of a variety of demographic, epidemiological, biological and social factors that affect nutritional status. This training will provide students substantive knowledge and methodological skills in public health nutrition research, with applications to clinical, research, program, policy, and laboratory areas. In addition to completing a core curriculum, students will have an opportunity to explore selected research areas in-depth through development of a research presentation and collaboration with faculty members from three institutions.

Selected Lectures from OBAMA - SINGH NUTRITION INITIATIVE (BBNC 2014 & 2015)

1. Nutritional Physiology and Body Composition - Anura Kurpad

Nutritional Physiology and Body Composition - Anura Kurpad: This lecture will examine ways of studying functions of mammalian organisms - at organ system, organ, cellular and subcellular levels - with an emphasis on the role of nutrition in the pathogenesis of disease. As an introduction to the principles governing function in the human body, this session is designed to provide a framework in physiology for future public health researchers and professionals. Since the first step in investigating effects of nutritional exposures is measuring body composition, a more detailed review of methods for accurately measuring body composition will be given.

2. Obesity & Chronic Disease Epidemiology - Mario Vaz

Obesity and Chronic Disease Epidemiology - Mario Vaz: This session explores epidemiological methods and research skills, with an application to obesity and non-communicable diseases, with a focus on diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Examples of epidemiological studies from areas such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, will be used to illustrate methodological concepts, and explore main issues in study design and interpretation of epidemiological study results.

3. Ethics in Nutrition Research Methods - Richard Cash

Ethics in Nutritional Interventions - Richard Cash: Using a case-study approach, students will explore key ethical issues encountered in nutritional interventions in India, through the hands-on application of ethical principles to realistic scenarios. Narratives will be used to explore the informed consent/assent process and international ethical debates regarding standard of care in resource-limited settings.

4. Why Food is Not Enough - Jeffrey K Griffiths

Why Food is Not Enough - Jeffrey K Griffiths: For decades the global community has assumed that the “solution” to Undernutrition has been the provision of the missing foods, micronutrients, or vitamins. Examples include iron for anemia, vitamin A for vitamin A deficiency, and caloric supplements for wasting or underweight. However, as summarized in the 2013 Lancet series, current estimates are that only ~ 20% of global stunting can be addressed by classical nutrition interventions or programs. This lecture launches the student into the active global debate around mycotoxin exposure, water and sanitation, the gut microbiome, and environmental enteropathy (once called tropical enteropathy, and sometimes now called enteric enteropathy) as causal factors that affect nutrition.

5. Statistical Techniques for Nutritional Studies - Part 1 - Ronald Bosch, Tinku Thomas

Statistical Techniques for Nutritional Studies Part 1 - Ronald Bosch, Tinku Thomas: In this lecture hypothesis testing, and the application of various tests of hypotheses such as t-test, chi-square test and ANOVA especially in the field of nutritional research will be covered. There will be an emphasis on the choice of statistical techniques based on the research question and the nature of data.

6. Nutritional Assessment - Rebecca Raj, Christopher Duggan

Nutritional Assessment - Rebecca Raj, Christopher Duggan: This session addresses methodological aspects of nutritional assessment and nutritional status in health and disease contexts. Dietary intake and anthropometric methods will be explored to evaluate nutritional status of individuals and populations. Methodological issues related to nutritional assessment in the context of clinical, epidemiological, and programmatic research design will be reviewed.

7. Childhood Stunting: Overview and Lessons Learned - SV Subramanian

Childhood Stunting: Overview and Lessons Learned - SV Subramanian: This lecture provides an overview of the issues of childhood stunting in low- and middle-income countries, with a special focus on India. The lecture will cover (a) the definition of stunting and an overview of the prevalence and distribution; (b) discuss the role of economic growth in addressing the problem of stunting; (c) emphasize the intergenerational factors that influence stunting; and (d) explore the shortcomings of the existing scientific discourse on stunting.

8. Principles of Biostatistics - Tinku Thomas, Ronald Bosch

Principles of Biostatistics - Tinku Thomas, Ronald Bosch: This lecture will address fundamental principles for analyzing data from epidemiology, environmental health, biomedical, and other public health research. Participants will be introduced to different types of data, descriptive statistics, frequency and probability distributions, and probability theory, illustrated with real life examples.

9. Scientific Manuscript and Proposal Development - Christopher Duggan, Ronald Bosch

Scientific Manuscript and Proposal Development - Christopher Duggan, Ronald Bosch: This session examines the principles and methods of scientific manuscript preparation and proposal development in public health research. Topics include literature reviews, study design, methodological skills, sample size calculation, ethical considerations, and informed consent. We will review organization of scientific papers, presentation of data in graphical and tabular forms, and style, and address gaps in technical scientific writing and dissemination of research findings. The instructors will review guidelines for journal submissions and response to reviewers' comments. Participants will have an opportunity to develop their research questions and presentations, with feedback from course instructors and colleagues in working groups.

10. Introduction to Nutrition and Global Health - Shibani Ghosh

Introduction to Nutrition and Global Health - Shibani Ghosh: This session will introduce students to nutritional and global health problems through exploration of demographic, epidemiological, biological, social, political, and economic determinants. The major causes of the global burden of malnutrition (both over and under nutrition) and disease will be explored, with emphasis on nutrition as a cause and consequence of disease and mortality. The overall goal of this session is to develop knowledge and skills that foster critical thinking about topics in nutrition in development and public health.

11. Using the Internet to Extract evidence - Tony Raj

Using the Internet to Extract Evidence - Tony Raj: This module will introduce students to the various methods used to extract evidence from the Internet. Topics will include examining the levels of evidence, identifying the various resources available on the Internet, conducting literature searches, and exploring evidence-based databases (the Cochrane library).