Spurred by the COVID-19 epidemic, the medical education community has placed increased emphasis in working together to fight diseases globally. Through the Central Asia University Partnerships Program (UniCEN), administered by American Councils for International Education and funded by the U.S. State Department through the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Tashkent Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education created an online course on public health surveillance to address emerging infectious diseases.
In Fall 2020, the partnership began with online discussion of quality control of testing and training healthcare professionals on COVID-19 protocols. These interactions led to two online training workshops, led by the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Tashkent Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education, on COVID-19 and its complexities. These workshops drew 293 Uzbek and seven American health care professionals.
The two institutions continued to collaborate, developing a syllabus for an online course to be launched in September 2021, and workshops on COVID-19 that have educated 47 Uzbekistani healthcare professionals over six sessions. In addition, University of Illinois at Chicago and Tashkent Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education are piloting a research program on infectious diseases where students from both universities will participate in a pilot research program on the effects of COVID-19 on patients. UIC continues to assist the Uzbekistan Research Institute of Virology with registering on the National Institute of Health website.