All trainees admitted into the CanHepC are expected to take part in the following activities:
- MCB 6355 Transdisciplinary Studies in Infectious Disease
- Webconference Webinar Series
- Online Journal Club
- Knowledge Translation
- Liver Clinic Observations
- Annual Meeting
- Elective or national/international meetings
The MCB 6355 - Transdisciplinary Studies in Infectious Disease is a 26 lecture web-conferenced graduate course designed by CanHepC and hosted at University of Montreal. It introduces and exposes interested researchers and students to various areas of infectious disease research (specifically hepatitis C). Evaluation takes place in the form of homework assignments (60%), participation discussions (10%) and a team grant project (30%). The course materials and topics are reviewed and updated annually by the training core committee. The course is divided into 3 parts: i) a weekly 1 –hour lecture; ii) a live case discussion via videoconferencing with the lecturing professor; iii) a short homework assignment. Trainees also prepare a collaborative transdisciplinary grant proposal in groups of 3-4.
The webconference Webinar series is a set of mentor-lead discussions and guest lectures designed to address key issues in the conduct of research, not necessarily specific to hepatitis C. The Webinar series runs weekly on alternate years from the MCB 6355 course.
Sample topics include:
- Research Tools
- HCV Advocacy
- Knowledge Translation
- Business Partnerships
- Intellectual Property
- Basic Research in Academia and Industry
- Laboratory Management
- Grant Writing and Review
Trainees within the training program are requested to collaborate with Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) chapters and reviewers for Health Canada "health care models". Trainees are also placed in contact with their local CLF chapters to convey the contents and relevance of their research to the interested public. Trainees are particularly encouraged to participate in the Living with Liver Disease program and World Hepatitis Day.
The online journal club is a series of trainee presentations of articles relevant to hepatitis C research. The journal club meets via teleconference every 2 weeks. Every meeting, a trainee selects an article to discuss and writes a critique. They explain how the paper reflects changes in hepatitis C research and the class discusses the article. Throughout the trainee's presentation, a mentor listens in and grades the trainee on their presentation skills, ability to respond to questions, and so on.
The CanHepC exposes trainees from a non-medical background to clinical aspects of Hepatitis C through attendance and observation of liver clinics. Non-medical trainees are assigned to spend at least 15 hours in liver clinics to observe interactions between physicians and patients. The enriching experience allows trainees to meet patients with Hepatitis C and get a first hand look at the true trials of living with Hepatitis C on a daily basis.
The annual CanHepC meeting provides mentors, trainees, and stakeholders with the opportunity to meet and discuss issues regarding the Canadian Network on Hepatitis C. Members and affiliates from various organizations and backgrounds meet to develop the annual strategy for the CanHepC, review current CanHepC trainees and their research, select new trainees from CanHepC applicants, and engage in trainee workshops. In addition, the program invites a guest speaker to provide unique insight on the disease outside of the program. It also invites a guest ethicist to spur discussion on ethical issues in research and medicine.
This meeting coincide with the Canadian Symposium on HCV, a state-of-the-art one-day symposium where International speakers, Senior CanHepC investigators and selected trainees present major advances in HCV research. This event is organized to facilitate networking and the opportunity for trainees to interact with peers and investigators featured in the program. All CanHepC trainees are required to submit abstracts and present posters at this event.
To foster collaboration across disciplines, trainees are offered travel awards to do an elective in a different research environment with preference given to learning new techniques or to attend international meetings. For example, visits to clinics, community organisations and healthcare services for persons at risk or infected with HCV are offered to trainees.