Public Health Education

#PHCIn 2: Dermatology for ICMR-STS

Can you suggest ideas for ICMR research (STS) in dermatology?

For ICMR-STS, you have to depend on a guide from your medical school. So, it would largely be guided by her/his experience of working in the medical school. The topic that you can do, would depend on what kind of clinical materials, patients and mentorship you have access to in your medical school.

First, I would suggest that you come up with a set of research questions which interest you. Then you go through the list and see which of your questions can be answered through the stipulations of ICMR-STS – limited time, money and resources. A good test would be to see if your research question would fulfill the FINER criteria.

– It should be Feasible (F), with adequate number of subjects, adequate technical expertise, affordable given the time and money available, and manageable in scope.
– The question should be Interesting (I), intriguing the investigator (which is YOU!) and other researchers, clinicians and experts working on similar topics.
– It should be Novel (N), generating some new content, which can add to the existing body of knowledge. However, for ICMR-STS projects, given the limited resources and time, this is one criteria which can be compromised on.
– The question should be answerable in an Ethical (E) manner. It should not breach the principles of non-maleficence, beneficence, autonomy and respect.
– It should be Relevant (R), particularly to the public health and clinical needs of India.


Image Source: Dr. Tarek Tawfik Amin, Slideshare

An example of such an idea would be to try and understand the burden of a particular disease in a section of an at risk community – a typical example being the range of dermatological diseases in HIV+ patients and the coping mechanisms that the patients use to deal with the problems. You could explore, in addition to the medical issues, the social determinants affecting outcomes in dermatological diseases in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). You could ask about their clinical trajectories, stigma experiences, barriers and facilitators to healthcare access, cost implications – particularly out of pocket (OOP) expenses, and others. These are just ones I could think of on the go!

To summarize, your research question should have a clinical or public health implication for society at large.

Best of luck in your search for a good research question in dermatology for the ICMR-STS program!


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