Concepts represent early planning stages for program announcements, request for applications, or solicitations for Fogarty Advisory Board input. Clearance of a concept by Fogarty's Advisory Board does not guarantee it will become an initiative.
Partnership Initiative for Health Professional Education and Research in Selected PEPFAR countries
Purpose and Objectives: Fogarty International Center (FIC) proposes to issue a Request for Applications (RFA) from eligible African institutions in selected PEPFAR priority countries with the highest HIV burden and the most limited resources in Africa. The main objectives of the RFA are to support African health education institutions in selected countries to:
- strengthen the quality of medical and nursing education and increase the retention of health professionals post-training;
- carry out research on best educational practices and disseminate results of those studies, as well as introduce and evaluate innovative training modalities and approaches;
- enhance the capacity of African health professional students to conduct locally relevant health research;
- enhance the capacity of African health professional students to develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based services, with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS and its comorbidities; and
- articulate and address specific needs of the countries with respect to the health professional workforce that could be addressed during training, including the need for more health professionals in rural areas.
In addition to focusing on their own Schools and Departments, the awardees are expected to work with health professional educators in other Schools or Departments within their institutions and with other Universities and Institutions in their country to expand the reach of their programs to other health professional education Schools and Departments. This may include building on and further enhancing the networks of medical and nursing schools established under the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and the Nursing Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI) prior programmatic support. Applicants will be encouraged to incorporate inter-professional education, where appropriate, and engagement of inter-professional research teams. Awardees should collaborate with the newly constituted African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) as well as with local and international partners who might contribute to these aims.
Background/Rationale and Prior FIC activities: With funding support from PEPFAR, this program will build on the achievements and lessons learned from the MEPI and NEPI programs and networks, supported by PEPFAR and administered by NIH and HRSA, and the work of the former MEPI PI Council, in advancing and transforming medical and nursing education in Africa. Significant investments by the NIH and other international funding organizations in research and training at African health professional institutions (see World Report), in addition to the direct follow-on NIH Common Fund program “Research Training for Career Development of Junior Faculty in Medical Education Partnership Initiative Institutions” have built considerable infrastructure, research expertise, and international networks at African institutions that might also be leveraged to contribute to this educational effort.
Overview of Proposed Program: Facets of the programs may include curriculum development, courses for skills development, practicum experiences, mentoring activities, leadership training, research training, educational research, and dissemination of educational practices, research findings, and evidence-based policies. Applicants will be encouraged to explore potential linkages to the national Ministries of Health, for example by engaging students in impact evaluations that might inform policy, and by considering national health priorities for research and workforce in their educational plans.
Relevance to FIC Strategic Plan: Strategic Goal 1: Build research capacity through Individuals, Institutions and Networks to meet future and evolving global health challenges. Strategic Goal 5: Build and strengthen partnerships to advance global health research and research capacity.
Timeline: An RFA would be targeted for release in CY16 for funding in CY17.
Global Brain and Nervous System Disorders Research across the Lifespan (GLOBAL BRAIN, R21, R01) continuation
Purpose Goals and Objectives
Summary: Continue the Global Brain research program using the successful format of LMIC-US collaborations at the planning grant (R21) and full R01 level in partnership with other NIH institutes and centers. Build on/ add in a focus on young investigators, implementation science and robust networking topically and regionally.
Purpose: The Global Brain program was established to address the burden of neurological disorders across the lifespan in low- and middle-income country settings. This goals of the program include the following:
- Research on nervous system development, function and impairment at any life stage or across the lifespan on topics relevant to LMICs;
- Building up the research capacity among LMIC partners and institutions involved in a specific research project with the long-term goal of building sustainable research capacity in nervous system function and nervous system impairment;
- Laying the foundation for development of appropriate and innovative diagnostics, prevention, and treatment strategies;
- Development of research networks among institutions centered around neuroscience topics
Historical Background: The GLOBAL BRAIN program was established in 2002 to address the burden of neurological disorders across the lifespan in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). It has competed every year except one since then with some changes over time to reflect needs. It is configured as two related trans-NIH announcements (R21 planning grant leading to an R01 assigned to a partner IC). Since the inception of the program, 156 R21s and 39 follow-up R01s have been funded in 35 LMICs with 6 HICs.
An analysis of the program revealed that for every $1 invested in the program by FIC, co-sponsoring ICs and collaborating partners have invested more than $5, thereby greatly multiplying the scientific and capacity building reach of this program. This catalytic research program has also been pivotal in encouraging research, networking, and capacity building in resource poor countries with low infrastructure, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, was previously recognized by being a recipient of the 2012 NIH Director’s Award. Almost 400 attendees joined in a 10-year anniversary Fogarty Global Brain symposium in 2014. A recent series of papers related to the program, but looking to gaps and needs for future research, was recently published in the journal NATURE as a supplement.
Overview of Proposed Program: To reissue and continue the Global Brain Disorders Research Program essentially as is given its success in key areas (research quality, research collaboration, funding partnerships and leveraging, and strong, diverse LIC and LMIC participation) with the following program-related focuses:
- Encourage networking for research and mentorship of young investigators. Given the actual collaborations and additional latent opportunities for more robust networking among the grantees themselves (as articulated and proposed by grantee network members) one change in focus and activity is proposed to be use of supplements and other mechanisms to encourage ongoing mentorship for junior investigators and connections /communications among researchers working on similar topics around the world and working within the same region.
- Continue to build on the successful collaboration with Fogarty’s Division of International Science Policy, Planning and Evaluation (DISPPE)on using the Global Brain Grantee network as a living laboratory for implementation science research and research tools and training driven by the research/ researchers.
- Encourage Global Brain Disorders Investigators to submit for any opportunities (whether FIC or other) to create research training programs, especially in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa where such research training is critically needed for neuro-related research.
- Priority Areas: Target research areas include but are not limited to neuro-developmental disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, neuropsychiatric disorders, neuro-trauma, seizure disorders, sensory system function and disorder, and addictive disorders that may impact populations at a certain life stage or across the lifespan. Research focusing on genetic, epigenetic and environmental drivers, factors that affect healthy brain development, health care delivery, and socio-economic factors are responsive. Applications may specialize in a varying suite of research types from basic, epidemiological, clinical, health services, translational to implementation science research. Lab, human, animal and population-based studies are all accepted.
Relevance to FIC Strategic Plan: This program helps to 1) build research capacity through individuals, institutions and networks to meet future and evolving global health challenges, 2) Supports research and research training in implementation science and 3) Advances research on prevention and control of the dual burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases and disabilities
Time Frame: The current FOA’s last receipt date is January 2017. The intent is for the proposed renewal FOA to be released soon after that date.
African Association for Health Professions Education and Research
Purpose: To advance the transformative impact on health education in Africa that has been initiated through the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and Nursing Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI) programs by:
- enhancing, expanding, and diversifying the leadership structure created through the MEPI Principal Investigator (PI) Council,
- building on the initial successes, infrastructure, and momentum of the MEPI and NEPI networks, and
- including additional institutions that did not participate in MEPI or NEPI, to create a sustainable African organization of health professions.
Consultations: An NIH-funded consultation was held in February 2016 with a meeting summary prepared by the National Academy of Medicine.
Proposal: Based on this and other consultations, core features of an African Association of Health Professions Education and Research would include:
- Inter-professional, with inclusion of doctors, nurses, and other Health Professions over time, as appropriate
- Organizational structure to share educational resources and best practices in health professional education in Africa, and encourage research to further enhance education methodologies and approaches
- Integration of biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and/or operational research into health professional education and practice
- Include geographically diverse members over time, e.g. francophone African institutions
- Convene annual meetings of Association members and convene working groups to carry out special initiatives
- Create a governance structure, implementing plan, business plan, and well-defined activities to support these goals, and lead over time to a self-sustaining association
- Include an evaluation framework to determine if the Association is meeting its goals
Strategy and Mechanism: Fogarty International Center, with the collaboration and funding support of the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, will develop a competitive funding opportunity announcement to invite applications from African institutions or organizations for an African Educational Association to meet the requirements above. Applicants must include at least one each of the MEPI and NEPI Schools of Medicine and Nursing in the program leadership, are encouraged to build on (but not be confined to) existing networks, and should describe how these networks will grow over time. Applicants must fully describe how they will obtain expertise on organizational and financial management. Other non-African partners may be brought in as needed to create a robust organization. It is envisioned that a solicitation will be published in 2016 that will lead to one five-year award in 2017.