The Dean’s Biomedical Research Internship Programme (DBRIP) is one of the training arms of the Sickle Cell Disease Genomics Network of Africa (SickleGenAfrica) project funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), US, under the auspices of the Human Hereditary and Health in Africa (H3Africa) consortium.

The DBRIP is a long vacation mentored research education programme for 200 and 300 level medical and dental students of the University of Ghana. The objective of the programme according to the Dean of the School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences (SBAHS) is to expose medical and dental students to research at an early stage in their training and provide an enabling environment for them to develop the passion for careers as physician scientists.

According to Prof. Solomon Ofori-Acquah, this unique programme affords students opportunities for close interaction with mentors as they carry out their research work. In addition, there will be weekly seminars, journal clubs and discussions which will enable students expand their understanding of the fundamentals of biomedical research.

The programme runs for 8 to 10 weeks during the long vacation of each academic year where each mentor and mentee receive stipends to cover additional laboratory costs. At a ceremony to present student participants with Certificates, they were given the opportunity to do presentations summarizing their experiences and the research projects they worked on.

The guest speaker, Professor George Obeng Adjei, in his address commended the Dean for the initiative and encouraged the students to take research as a serious business especially when they are provided the opportunity to share their research works. He said research helps in addressing the health needs of a country and that it is important to recognize the effort of people who do applied research that brings incremental changes to the society.

He took time to take the audience through his personal experience as a researcher both within and outside the country. The students were further admonished to be clear in their mind, committed and proactive in carving out their own research area.  He said it is a precarious balancing act being in a clinical area and doing basic research hence the need to be self-disciplined in time management.

Interacting with some of the student participants at the ceremony marking the completion of their research works in the DBRIP, they expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to enable them use their vacation in a more viable manner. They also expressed their joy in the assurance that the programme will be expanded to cover students from other Medical Schools within and outside the country.

Also present at the function was DBRIP Committee Chairman, Dr. Edeghonghon Olayemi, other members of the Committee as well as all the six Faculty Mentors the students were paired with.