Publications & Reports

Strengthening Noncommunicable Disease Research Capacity and Chronic Disease Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries in South Asia: Implementation and Evaluation of the ASCEND Program.

Byrnes A, Haregu TN, Pasricha N, Singh K, Thirunavukkarasu S, Wickkramasinghe K, Thankappan KR, Oldenburg B
1 Family Life Limited, Sandringham, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


This article describes the design, outcomes, challenges, and lessons learned from the ASian Collaboration for Excellence in Non-Communicable Disease (ASCEND) program, implemented between 2011 and 2015 in India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia. The program involved a blended-delivery model, incorporating online and face-to-face training, mentoring, and supervision of trainees' research projects. Evaluation data were collected at baseline, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Intended outcomes, lessons, and challenges were summarized using a logic model. During the program period, 48 participants were trained over 2 cohorts in June 2011 and 2012. The trainees published 83 peer-reviewed articles between 2011 and 2015. Additionally, 154 presentations were given by trainees at national and international conferences. Underutilization of the online learning management system was an important challenge. Utilizing a combination of intensive face-to-face and online learning and mentoring of early career researchers in low- and middle-income countries has great potential to enhance the research capacity, performance, and outputs.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health
  • Published: 13/08/2019
  • Volume: 31
  • Issue: 6
  • Pagination: 536-547