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NYU Abu Dhabi and Pfizer Inc. Collaboration Drives Progress

1 April 2020 No Comment
Raghib Ali, New York University Abu Dhabi; Omar El Shahawy, New York University; Kelly H. Zou, Upjohn Division, Pfizer Inc.; Scott Sherman, New York University; Michael Weitzman, New York University; and Amrit Ray, Upjohn Division, Pfizer Inc.
    Photo shows Photo courtesy of Amina Cherchali Delegates, instructors, and organizers of the joint Clinical Research Training Program held at New York University Abu Dhabi November 24, 2019

    Photo courtesy of Amina Cherchali
    Delegates, instructors, and organizers of the joint Clinical Research Training Program held at New York University Abu Dhabi November 24, 2019

      New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and the Upjohn Division of Pfizer Inc. (Upjohn) launched a collaboration—the Clinical Research Training Program—to bring academia and the private sector together to build scientific research capacity in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

      This collaboration is based in Abu Dhabi and has the mandate of both building research capacity in the UAE and contributing scientific insights that can affect the population locally, regionally, and globally. The long-term vision of the partnership is to harness observational data, randomized clinical trials, and analytical skills to generate real-world evidence (RWE) to advance the prevention and management of noncommunicable diseases (NCD).

      RWE is the clinical evidence regarding the usage and potential benefits or risks of a medical product derived from analysis of real-world data (RWD), according to the US Food and Drug Administration. RWE can be generated by different study designs or analyses, including randomized trials, large simple trials, pragmatic trials, and observational studies (prospective and/or retrospective). RWE offers possibilities for translating data into meaningful health outcomes, particularly through observational studies, patient-reported outcomes, clinical trial optimization, synthetic control arm construction, and pragmatic trials.

      As analytic capabilities and digital innovation mature, there are new opportunities to analyze high volumes of data in an efficient way, harnessing computational power and artificial intelligence.

      The Clinical Research Training Program is designed to provide the basic research skills and advanced analytic skills needed to enable researchers in the UAE to drive scientific initiatives that include RWD and RWE.

      The Inaugural Research Training Module

      The first module of the Clinical Research Training Program attracted more than 40 delegates, who were exposed to presentations concerning qualitative and quantitative methodology from NYU faculty members and Upjohn experts to serve as a foundation for the ensuing series of modules.

      An array of topics was introduced and innovative and highly interactive teaching methods were used to engage delegates. For example, VoxVote, a mobile app to facilitate teaching, enabled live voting during presentations. Core topics included the following:

      • Assumptions in research, qualitative and quantitative approaches, assessing validity of your research question, and steps in conducting research
      • Discrete and continuous data probability distributions, estimation, and central limit theorem, confidence intervals
      • Introduction to systematic reviews as a research methodology
      • Protection of human subjects, informed consent, and patient and data confidentiality
      • Sampling in quantitative and qualitative research
      • Study design and causal inference
      • Vision for a Successful Private-Public Partnership

      By working closely across sectors through scientific partnerships (e.g., the pharmaceutical industry, academia, and government), previously disparate data and discrete tools can converge to generate new scientific insights, identify risk factors, and define interventions that can make a difference in relieving the burden of NCDs.

      Editor’s Note: The authors are respective employees of New York University Abu Dhabi, New York University School of Medicine, and Upjohn. Views expressed are their own and do not necessarily represent those of their employers. Editorial support was not provided.

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