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WHO ICFP Scientific Writing, Mentoring and Coaching Course 2022

Post-conference coaching and follow-up of participants

Collaborating partners: The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research, and the Department of SRH (including HRP), World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners will organize a Scientific Writing, Mentoring and Coaching course from 14 November 2022 to 17 November 2022 during the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) 2022 in Thailand.

Junior scientists from Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) working in family planning can face career growth limitations if they lack the skills to publish their work in international peer-reviewed journals. This scientific writing course aims to support junior scientists at the early stages of their careers to develop confidence and skills in writing high-quality scientific articles.

The course links with ongoing global capacity-building efforts at ICFP 2022. The course will complement other similar scientific writing courses participants may have attended and aims to stimulate interest in attending further training. The course will also support people less likely to have opportunities for formal scientific writing courses, such as program implementors in Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), charities, and government programs.

The course targets junior scientists who have accepted abstracts at ICFP 2022. For some, this may be their first manuscript in family planning, or if they have been involved in previous manuscripts, they have not been the lead or senior author.

The Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research (GFMER) will organize and manage the coaching and webinars in the six months following the conference.

Goal

The goal of the course is for participants to develop the motivation, skills, and confidence to write a high-quality scientific manuscript on a family planning topic. It is aimed that most participants will submit their manuscripts to a peer-reviewed journal within six months of the conference. It is anticipated that a large proportion of these submissions will be accepted for publication within 12 months.

Longer-term, the course aims to develop the research capacity of LMIC scientists and practitioners working in family planning.

Objectives of the course

At the end of the WHO Scientific Writing, Mentoring and Coaching course, trainees will:

  1. Be aware of the parts of a scientific manuscript and the fundamentals of good scientific writing.
  2. Have the skills to craft a scholarly and lucid argument.
  3. Develop their abstract into a scientific manuscript and navigate the process for submission and peer review.
  4. Participate in a network of junior scientists, facilitators and mentors who have similar interests.

Course audience

The target audience for the course are:

  • Students (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Clinical and public health trainees
  • Health care workers
  • Employees of implementing partners
  • Government employees
  • Junior academics/faculty

For students, ICFP is likely to be their first international conference, and many will be supported by various scholarships. Although students may not be sure of their career goals, it is hoped the course will motivate them pursue careers in family planning and provide general skills in scientific writing.

Implementing partners, government and NGO employees may have abstracts reporting on the implementation and impact of their work in the field. This training will allow them to grow their scientific writing skills to document field experiences and advance their careers in public health with a focus on family planning. 

The course will also benefit health care workers and clinical trainees who have submitted abstracts based on research or routine service delivery data at the community primary, secondary or tertiary level. The training will allow them to learn how to report on their findings scientifically.

Course Overview (Workshop program)

The course has five components:

  1. Plenary seminars: Four 60 minutes sessions will be delivered every morning during ICFP. Sessions will be composed of a keynote presentation (20 minutes), panel discussion (20 minutes) and question and answer (20 minutes) with opportunities for interactive debate and discussion.
    • Keynote presentation topics:
      • Day 1: Why do I publish? (Jane Hirst, University of Oxford)
      • Day 2: The anatomy of a scientific paper (Moazzam Ali, WHO)
      • Day 3: Getting your paper noticed by journal editors (Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli, WHO)
      • Day 4: The road to publication (Hannah Wilson)
  2. Mentoring during the conference: Two small group discussion sessions with a mentor during the meeting will be held for the participants to ask questions, discuss the plenary seminars, and network with other researchers.
  3. Coaching after the conference: A remote, six-month coaching program will be provided to help participants develop their manuscripts and submit it to a peer-reviewed journal.
  4. Webinars:  2 webinars will be held after the didactic course that will review progress on manuscript writing and share lessons learnt.
  5. Networking and peer support: participants will be encouraged to remain connected through WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms.

Upon completion of the course, including attendance at the conference, and participation in at least one post-conference event, the participant will be eligible for a certificate of completion.