Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent an extraordinary global crisis. Over three quarters of all NCD
related deaths and 82% of premature NCD-related deaths occur in low-middle income countries (LMIC).
Locally-relevant, high-quality data regarding NCDs are scarce and most low-middle income countries (LMICs)
like Pakistan, are not equipped to manage this epidemic. A critical gap in the response of LMICs to the NCD
epidemic is a dearth of trained researchers who can contribute to the understanding of prevalence, risk factors,
and development and testing of safe, effective, and low-cost solutions. Our prior work funded through the D71
PAR-17-097 mechanism in 2018, shows that there exists a pressing local and national need and desire for
high-quality, multidisciplinary, trained professionals to lead teams that are thematically focused on NCD
research in Pakistan. We were able to identify high-priority NCD research themes and most suitable research
training resources and pathways. Informed by these unique insights we have designed a comprehensive,
integrated, multi-disciplinary training program to train the next generation of leaders in NCD research with a
particular focus on cardio-cerebrovascular diseases and their shared risk factors. The training program
leverages the Aga Khan University’s (AKU) and the Institute for Global Health and Development extensive
development network platform and infrastructure at its flagship site in Pakistan. The specific aims of this
program are to: 1) Build sustainable research capacity in: (a) high-quality surveillance of risk factors (including
social determinants) across the life span common to several NCDs, (b) implementation of context sensitive,
scalable, approaches to cardio-cerebro vascular diseases prevention & management in Pakistan. A heavy
focus will be research approaches that leverage digital information technology including big data and m-health.
2) Develop a sustainable pool of Pakistani research experts in cardio-neurovascular disease surveillance and
implementation science who will provide the vision and leadership necessary to produce high-quality research
of relevance to tackling NCDs in Pakistan and other LMICs. The proposed program brings together faculty,
research expertise, and resources from the Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan and Duke University,
United States. We expect that this program will directly increase Pakistan’s research capacity, a critical
element in a comprehensive national NCD response.