SORT IT (Structured Operational Research Training InitiaTive) is a successful capacity building programme started 10 years ago to develop operational research skills in low- and middle-income countries. Public Health England (PHE) aims to embed a culture of research in front-line staff, and SORT IT has been adapted to train frontline health protection professionals at PHE North West (PHE NW) to collate, analyse and interpret routinely collected data for evidence-informed decision-making. Six participants from the PHE NW Health Protection team were selected to attend a two-module course in Liverpool, UK, in May and in November 2018. Five participants finished the course with completed papers on characteristics and burden of influenza-like illness in elderly care homes (two papers), use of dried blood spots for blood-borne virus screening in prisons, uptake of meningococcal ACWY (groups A, C, W-135 and Y) vaccine in schoolchildren and fires in waste management sites.
The SORT IT course led to
- new evidence being produced to inform health protection practice
- agreement within PHE NW to continue SORT IT with two courses per year,
- showed how a research capacity building initiative for low- and middle-income countries that combines ‘learning with doing’ can be adapted and used in a high-income country.
This research was supported by the UK Department for International Development’s Operational Research Capacity Building Programme led by the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union)
Ghebrehewet S, Harries AD, Kliner M, Smith K, Cleary P, Wilkinson E, Stewart A. Adapting the Structured Operational Research Training Initiative (SORT IT) for high-income countries. Public Health Action. 2019 Jun 21;9(2):69–71.
Adapting the Structured Operational Research Training Initiative (SORT IT) for high-income countries