Global Initiative for Neuropsychiatric Genetics Education in Research (GINGER)
GINGER is a global neuropsychiatric genetics training program originally established by a grant from the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2017. The GINGER program, at the intersection of clinical neuroscience and mental health, aims to address the global gap in neuropsychiatric genetics research by enhancing genetic research capacity through training and mentoring of early-career researchers. To this end, GINGER partners with multiple research and academic institutions around the globe to develop research and professional skills training for early-career scientists located in countries where mental health research is growing. GINGER is currently run in collaboration with participating institutions in East and South Africa including Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, Makerere University in Uganda, Moi University and KEMRI | Wellcome-Trust in Kenya, and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
The GINGER program includes four main components, targeted to both early-career researchers as well as academic and research institutions:
(1) Research Fellow Virtual Classrooms and Workshops: A series of virtual courses and workshops focusing on the state of science in genetics research, genetic analyses, epidemiology, scientific and grant writing, mentoring and building a research program. This is targeted to a select group of early-career research fellows, known as the GINGER Fellows. The current program lasts four years.
(2) Research Fellow Mentoring: Mentoring sessions to follow the progress of projects and learn from renowned researchers in the field of neuropsychiatric epidemiology and genetics. This is targeted to the GINGER Fellows.
(3) Collaborative, institutions skills training programs: Onsite skills-based trainings taught at each collaborating institution that are open to a larger audience, including graduate students, fellows, research assistants, and project managers.
(4) Teaching and Curriculum Development: We work with our GINGER Fellows, numerous collaborating faculty, and PhD and postdoctoral level individuals to develop and teach content for the GINGER program.
A vital aspect of this program is equitable collaboration. The curriculum for the program is developed with the active participation of senior faculty leaders from each collaborating institution and all trainings are taught together with instructors from Harvard, the Broad Institute, and collaborating faculty, with the goal of incorporating the materials into the curriculums of partner institutions. All training activities are tailored to the priorities of each institution and the individuals involved, with an emphasis on bringing awareness to the need for equitable collaborations within mental health and specifically the neuropsychiatric genetics community.
With funding from the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research and the National Institute for Mental Health, GINGER launched a second cohort of 7 Research Fellows from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Cape Town in South Africa and the KEMRI | Wellcome Trust in Kenya. This cohort will run from 2020-2024.