Improving Ethical Research on a Global Scale

WCG IRB’s International Fellows Program is designed for global healthcare professionals who intend to establish or improve institutional review boards (IRBs) in their home countries. Our intensive program helps participants develop the knowledge necessary to create, manage, and/or administer IRBs that comply with the regulations and ethical standards that protect the rights and welfare of human research participants.

The International Fellows Program was founded in 2002 in partnership with the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health, and the University of Washington primarily to address the training needs of participants from developing/low-to-middle income countries. Initially, the Program consisted solely of a 6-month session, but has since expanded to include an abbreviated 2-month option.

In 2014, the Program underwent another significant evolutionary milestone through the incorporation of a training partnership with New York University (NYU). With this partnership, the expertise of WCG and NYU’s Division of Medical Ethics faculty combine to enhance the Fellows’ experiential and theoretical knowledge. To date, more than 200 international fellows from across Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean have graduated, many making significant contributions to the field of clinical research in their home countries.

2022 Program: Currently Enrolling

Capsule: WCG IRB’s International Fellows Program in Research Ethics

Capsule is designed for global healthcare professionals who intend to improve institutional review board (IRBs) operations in their home countries.

The Program has been designed to continue to provide broad-based research ethics and human subject protection training against the backdrop of the limitations imposed by the realities of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic which currently prevent in-person activities.

DURATION: 1 month (a distillation of our existing 2 and 6 month programs)


CONTENT: Access to a dedicated platform containing links to session recordings, supplemental readings, and other interactive media, comprising pre-recorded and live sessions led by both WCG IRB and New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center professionals.

TUITION: Training and educational materials are provided at no cost to participants.

NUMBER OF SESSIONS: (2) Spring & Fall 2022

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, 25 March, 2022

Program Training Objectives


Achieve a foundational understanding of the history, roles, responsibilities, and processes of protecting human research participants.


In-depth discussions on human research participant protection provided by the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU’s Langone Medical Center.


Training on relevant regulations, guidelines, and guidance pertaining to human research participant protection, protocol review, the consent process, human research populations, and safety.

More than 200 Participants from 27 Countries

Meet the International Fellows

Anisa S.K., MSc. (India)

Mrs. Anisa holds a master degree in Microbiology and previous was working as guest faculty at Mysore University. She is presently working as Lab Research Assistant and also as ethics committee supporting staff at Public health Research Institute of India, Mysore, Karnataka, India. She is also a future aspirant of PhD.

Annabelle Reyes, MD (Philippines)

Dr. Reyes is a practicing Neurologist and psychiatrist and is also an active Clinical trialist as well as reviewer for peer review journals. She heads the Institute of neuroscience at the lanang premier hospital and Brokenshire school of medicine . She heads the Ethics review board of a cluster of southern Philippines Medical Center ( tertiary government hospital ) and Department of health region XI as well as the Ethics review board of Metro Davao Medical and Research Center ( private hospital)

Asfaw Debella, PhD (Ethiopia)

Dr. Asfaw Debella is working as a lead researcher for the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is a registered consultant pharmacy specialist by Ministry of Health. He has published more than 110 scientific publications in peer reviewed journals and co-authored one book. He contributed for six utility model certificates in the discovery of health technology products which were registered by the Ethiopian Intellectual Property office. He has been serving on part time as associate professor in teaching courses for graduate and undergraduate students, and as a research advisor of graduate students in various universities. He has made significant and successful contributions in various technical committees and consultancy services. As the senior member of the Institutional Ethical and Research Review Board, he has the bioethical responsibility to safeguard the dignity, rights, safety and wellbeing of all actual or potential research participants besides the decision-making role of proposals.

Ashwin Kotnis, PhD (India)

Dr. Ashwin hold MSc. (Biochemistry) PhD (Applied Biology) followed by postdoctoral experience at Karolinska Institute, Sweden and University of Oxford, UK. He is Associate Professor in Dept of Biochemistry at All India of Medical Sciences, Bhopal in Central India with teaching responsibilities to medical undergraduates and postgraduates and research interests in molecular biology of cancer biology and autoimmune diseases. He is the founder Member Secretary of Institutional Human Ethics Committee since 2012 at AIIMS Bhopal and the administrative responsibilities include review and approval of the research protocols, amendments, SAEs, etc. and communication with the researchers and regulatory bodies, conducting workshops for Human Research Ethics training to researchers and student for safeguarding the research participant. He is member of Institutional Biosafety committee in the Institute and Clinical Trial Committee, Biosafety Committee and Board of Studies in the neighbouring Institutes in Bhopal. He enjoys gardening, and is founder member of Apna School which facilitates school education to children of construction labourers.

Chitu Womehoma Princewill, B.Sc., M.Sc., (Nigeria)

Dr. Princewell holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Biochemistry from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Anambra State, Nigeria. She has a Master’s Degree Level Certificate in Biosafety from the Institute for Gene Ecology, University of Tromso. She holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, sponsored by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), Forgaty International Center and the National Human Genome Research. She has a Doctoral Degree from the Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel, Switzerland.

She is a Deputy Director and the Head of Bioethics Unit at the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Abuja, Nigeria. She is the Vice President of the Ethics Technical Working Group of the West African Integrated Vector Management Programme for the eradication of malaria in the West African Region. She is the International Anglophone Rapporteur for the African Regional Bioethics Programme.

Ellacy Chirwa, BSc (Malawi)

Ms. Chirwa holds a Bachelors in Science Degree obtained from University of Livingstonia (UNILIA) in Malawi. She is currently a Compliance Officer for University of Livingstonia Research Ethics Committee (UNILIA-REC). In this roles, her main responsibilities are; to make sure that investigators conduct research in accordance with the National Regulatory requirements and Policies, providing advisory services to Research Ethics Committee (REC) Members and Investigators on good research practice, inspecting ongoing studies through inspection visits, attending REC meetings as a member of its secretariat and making sure that serious adverse events are properly documented and reported to the relevant regulatory bodies as well.

Helen Mangochi, BSc PH, Dip. CommH (Malawi)

Helen holds a BSc in Public Health and a Diploma in Community Health. Currently coordinating clinical research studies at Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Program. Her main responsibilities include preparing research protocols, design and conduct qualitative research and communicate with the local ethics committee. Previously awarded a bursary grant from Global Health Bioethics Network (GHBN) to conduct a study on perspectives of ASSENT in Malawi, as a part of GHBN’s multi country project on challenges in obtaining consent.

Innocent Abayo, B.Sc. (Kenya)

Mr. Innocent Abayo holds a Bachelor of Science degree, in Biochemistry, a post graduate diploma in project management and is currently working on his Master’s degree in Monitoring and Evaluation with a focus on healthcare and clinical research. At present, Innocent is the Program Navigator and Regulatory Advisor at the Aga Khan University Cancer Centre’s Experimental Therapeutics Program and Clinical Research Unit.

Innocent has broad experience in clinical research having worked as a research study coordinator on numerous studies and as Quality Advisor to the Aga Khan University’s Institutional Ethics Review Committee (IERC), AKU Research office and the AKU Post – Graduate Medical Education Program. He is currently the Administrator and Secretary of the AKU Cancer Centre Scientific Review committee.

Lillian Achacha, BSc. (Kenya)

Ms. Lilian Achacha has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and Biotechnology and is a Research Scientist at Kenya Medical Research Institute, Scientific and Ethics Review Unit (SERU).

She is currently an IRB (Institutional Review Board) coordinator, Committee member and secretariat at the Scientific and Ethics Review Unit, actively involved in Research Regulation and administration. Over the years she has developed a keen interest in bioethics and human health research. Her ultimate goal is to protect the study participants involved in human health research. She inspires to influence key decisions that can improve human health and health policy through research regulation of human health research. Her keen interest is in public health research and bioethics.

Linah Chesir, BA, MSc (Kenya)

Ms Linah Chesir has a background in Clinical Medicine and Surgery, having done Diploma and Higher Diploma in the same, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Master of Science in International Health Research & Ethics. She serves as the Deputy Director Academics at Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital College of Health Sciences in Kenya. Her responsibilities include; Teaching, implementation of training and research policies, overseeing student Clinical placement and follow up, facilitation of college administrative activities and is a reviewer to the Institutional Research & Ethics Committee at the hospital. She is also a champion and advocate for ethically sound health care practices as demonstrated in her research work.

Miria Nowamukama, MHSc (Uganda)

Miria Nowamukama is a human rights activist and holds a Master’s degree of Health Science in Bioethics and a Bachelors Degree of Environmental science from Makerere University. She has worked with Makerere University, School of Public Health Higher Degrees Research and Ethics as a Research Ethics administrator. She possesses outstanding competencies in research ethics, human rights, maternal and child health, Sexual and reproductive health, monitoring and evaluation, good leadership, environmental Health & impact assessment skills. Has expertise in implementing community projects, qualitative research, and responsible research conduct.

She exhibits more than five years’ experience working with marginalized groups of people in Uganda. Her passion is to positively impact the live hoods of vulnerable persons and communities. She believes that every human being is autonomous and deserves to be treated well. More so she thinks that every life counts and can never be replaced whatsoever. She is a good team player with a motive to teach and learn from others as a key to achieving remarkable impact in societies.

Sara Brair, MBBS, MD (Sudan)

Dr. Sara Lavinia Brair works as the Director General of a state in Sudan called the White Nile State. She is a community medicine physician and a dermatologist. Dr. Brair started her career working at the Ministry of Health in different departments. Her work in reproductive health, made her realise the importance of educational empowerment among women, and as a result, she co-founded two organizations working in the field of empowering women. In 2008, Dr. Brair moved to the academia, where she worked in the community medicine department. During this period, she completed a diploma in clinical education, and helped develop the educational development centre at her university and trained other faculty on education. Dr. Brair leads a curriculum reform in community medicine, and as part of this reform has added important courses like research methods and research ethics. Dr. Brair established the first IRB at Al Neelain and obtained a fund to train others in other states on research ethics.

Apungwa Cornelius Ntabe, MSc (Cameroon)

Mr. Apungwa Cornelius holds two Master degrees. One in Health Research Ethics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa under the South African Research Ethics Training Initiative (SARETI) program and the other in International Relations from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon. Mr Apungwa is currently a PhD H3Africa research training fellow at the University of Buea under the Ethics, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) component of the Tuberculosis Genomic (TBGEN) study.

He serves as an IRB Member for the Research Ethics Review and Consultancy Committee (ERCC) of the Cameroon Bioethics Initiative (CAMBIN). He is also the Project Manager for the SNECFA (Strengthening National Ethics Committee in West and Central Francophone Africa) project sponsored by EDCTP geared at strengthening capacity for National Ethics Committee members of Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Niger. He previously serve as a Project Coordinator for the GSK Ebola vaccine trial in Cameroon – Bamenda.

Alex Phang, BSc, MMedSc, MOHRE, PhD (Malaysia)

Dr. Alex is a clinical scientist by profession who holds a PhD in Pathology, Master’s degrees in Public Health, Health Research Ethics and Medical Sciences (Pathology). He is currently the Secretary at University Malaya Medical Centre-Medical Research Ethics Committee where his core duties include managing the IRB and assisting in study protocol screening. He has great interest in researching the ethical issues surrounds emerging technologies and epidemic ethics as well as the quality improvement of IRB’s services to ensure the protection of human subjects in health research. He is also an affiliate member of Academy Sciences of Malaysia.

Banyana Sekwati, BA (Botswana)

Ms. Sekwati holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Population Studies from the University of Botswana, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Capetown. Ms. Sekwati is a Research officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness under the Health Research Division where her duties include organizing the national IRB meetings, and attending IRB committee meetings as a member of the national IRB secretariat. Ms. Sekwati also reviews undergraduate proposals, facilitates training workshops in research ethics and review processes of IRBs and maintains IRB records.

Ildebrando Ruaya, BSn, MHSc. (The Philippines)

Mr. Ruaya holds a Masters of Health Social Science degree and is currently a Training Specialist with Mariveles Mental Wellness and General Hospital. He is also an Ethics Review Committee Member of Central Luzon Health Research and Development Consortium (CLHRDC) since 2017. In that capacity, his duties include providing learning and development activities, reviewing proposals, and support operations on research and development.

Judy Ngure, BSc (Kenya)

Ms Judy Ngure holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biochemistry and a minor in Zoology. She is currently a Research Scientist (Research Regulation/Ethics) at the Kenya Medical Research Institute as a compliance officer and a committee co-ordinator at the Scientific and Ethics Review Unit (SERU). She has continuously been supporting SERU in various capacities including pre-reviewing applications to ensure compliance, review of proposals, monitoring and evaluation of approved projects, IRB co-ordinator and other research regulation duties for the past 5 years.

Kokulo Franklin, MPhil, M. Soc. Sci. (Liberia)

Mr. Franklin holds Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degrees in Biological Sciences from the Cuttington University and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Liberia and Ghana, respectively. Most recently, he received a Master of Social Science (M.Soc.Sc.) in Health Research Ethics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in South Africa. Mr. Franklin is an experienced clinical research professional, currently working with the Partnership for Research on Vaccines and Infectious Diseases in Liberia (PREVAIL), where he serves as Manager for the Office of Regulatory Compliance and Ethics (ORCE). In this capacity, he oversees the ethical and regulatory aspects of all PREVAIL studies; and plays a critical part in protocol development, review, and operationalization. He recently became a member of the University of Liberia – Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation (UL-PIRE) IRB, one of only two government-recognized IRBs.

Million Eschete, PhD (Ethiopia)

Dr. Million is an International Health Researcher, Consultant, Chief Strategic Advisor and analyst. He has been engaged in Monitoring, Evaluation Research and Learning projects. Executed complex health-related projects and data analytics. He is Interested in causality, clinical research, philosophy and Ethics. Hold a PhD in Medical Research – International Health from the Medical Centre of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany (2015-2019) and a BSc from Jimma University Ethiopia.

He is currently an Assistant Professor of International health, Chair of the Institutional Review Board and V/Director for Community Based Education Program, at the Jimma University, Ethiopia

Sia Malekia, MA, MBE (Tanzania)

Ms. Malekia holds a Diploma in Clinical Medicine, Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and two Master’s degrees – in Health Policy & Management and Bioethics. Ms. Malekia is a Senior Research Scientist working at National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and a Secretariat Member of the National Health Research Ethics Committee (NatHREC) since 2011. Her responsibilities include: review of human subject research protocol, coordinate Committee meetings, assess risks and benefits of health research proposals and reports, conduct active and passive monitoring of approved studies, assist to develop health research ethics guidelines and regulations as well as to conduct oversight visits to accredited local IRBs in Tanzania. 

Valrie J. McKenzie, PGC Law, MSc, BSc (Jamaica)

Ms. Valrie J. McKenzie holds a Post-graduate certificate in Law (Law & Medical Ethics) from Edinburgh University, Master of Science degree in Psychological Research (Clinical & Health) from Bangor University, Wales, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Associate of Arts in Mass Communication (Northern Caribbean University) and Certificate in Dental Therapy (Dental Auxiliary School). She is a Senior Lecturer at the College of Oral Health Science, University of Technology, Jamaica. Currently, she holds the position as Chair of the Ethics Review Committee in her College, facilitator of undergraduate research, a member of Graduate Studies Research & Ethics Committee and she sits on the University Ethics Review Committee. Valrie is currently pursuing doctoral studies in Educational Leadership & Management.