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Advancing Science for Global Health
Advancing Science for Global Health
Home > About Us > Fogarty's Role in Global Health Print

Our Role in Global Health

Since its establishment more than 50 years ago, Fogarty has laid the groundwork to respond to the changing world by making foundational investments in the scientific workforce, developing global research networks that can quickly respond, harnessing new tools and research approaches, and devoting attention to emerging global challenges such as pandemics, climate change, and social injustice as well as serving as the focal point for international affairs at NIH.

Developing the scientific workforce

Researcher working in lab examines samples.
Photo by Richard Lord for Fogarty

Central to Fogarty's mission is our focus on preparing the next generation of scientists to respond to current and future threats to health by providing opportunities to tie biomedical research to real world applications.  More than 7,500 individuals from 132 countries have trained through Fogarty programs since 1989.

Program spotlight: Fogarty's HIV Research Training program and its predecessor programs have developed generations of global health leaders who have contributed to breakthroughs in the prevention, treatment, and care of people living with HIV.  

Trainee spotlight: Dr. Lloyd Mulenga received his Ph.D. with Fogarty support and is now a leading infectious disease researcher at the University of Zambia.  He designed a clinical trial demonstrating the effectiveness and safety of a drug that has become the WHO's preferred treatment option for many people living with HIV. 

Fostering collaborative global networks

Across our scientific portfolio, Fogarty supports networks of U.S. and international scientists who collaborate across borders and can rapidly respond to new and emerging health threats.

Program spotlight: Fogarty supports the African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth), a leadership and convening organization that brings academic health research professionals together to develop and share best practices, innovations, curricula, and policy.  The powerful network was designed to address health workforce issues and the HIV/AIDS crisis.  However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the network rapidly pivoted to help identify and share best practices for dealing with the pandemic across Africa.

Harnessing promising research approaches

Digital map of Africa. Image by iStock.
Image by iStock

Fogarty leverages several cutting-edge research approaches to respond to our changing world.

Program spotlight: Through support from the NIH Common Fund and in partnership with 10 NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, Fogarty helped launch the new Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) program.  DS-I Africa supports an African-led consortium that will employ innovative approaches such as big data analysis, artificial intelligence, and computational modeling to transform health in Africa over the next five years.

Program spotlight: Fogarty's Mobile Health: Technology and Outcomes in LMICs (mHealth) program implements an innovative two-phase funding approach that emphasizes rigorous evaluations at the proof-of-concept stages followed by opportunities for scaling up only the interventions that are proven effective. 

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

Fogarty's investments in the scientific workforce and collaborative networks enabled researchers around the world to quickly respond to the pandemic.  Past and current grantees and trainees played major roles in the research response to the COVID-19 pandemic in their countries including China, Haiti, Peru, and South Africa, while also providing expert analysis to policymakers. 

Grantee spotlight: Fogarty grantee Dr. Christian Happi of Nigeria was the first to sequence the full COVID-19 viral genome in Africa and continues to lead the scientific response to the pandemic in his country.

Recently, Fogarty further supported this powerful research network by awarding $3.3 million in administrative supplements to support research on unique scientific questions and research training activities related to COVID-19.  These projects covered critical issues such as mental health, interactions between COVID-19 and other infectious diseases (e.g., HIV and tuberculosis), vaccine hesitancy, intimate partner violence, stigma related to mental health, and other topics.

Preparing for future pandemics

Fogarty's foundational investments in the scientific workforce and global networks promise to be effective against future pandemics.  Fogarty's Division of International Epidemiology and Population Studies (DIEPS) further supports pandemic preparedness through its ongoing research and research training on epidemiological modeling and genomic epidemiology. 

Trainee spotlight: Dr. Andrew Kambugu received advanced training in infectious disease research in the United States with Fogarty support and then returned to Uganda, ultimately rising to the position of Executive Director of the Infectious Disease Institute (IDI).  Under his leadership, IDI established a global health security program in 2016, enabling the institute to contribute to the COVID-19 response and prepare for future threats. 

Responding to climate change

A woman walks througha flooded stret in Ecuador
Photo by Dr. Karen Levy

Over the past decade, several Fogarty programs have explored the impacts of environmental and climate change on human health, especially on underserved populations. Looking to the future, Fogarty is partnering with NIEHS to lead the planning of a new, NIH-wide effort to identify, understand, and address the health impacts of climate change, with special attention to the underserved communities in the United States and abroad that are often disproportionately impacted.

Program spotlight: The Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEOHealth) Hub program  recently led gap analyses on the impacts of climate change on human health in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda, outlining recommendations for improved coordination across sectors, policy guidelines, and considerations for gender and community-related perspectives.

Towards social justice and health equity

Fogarty stands with NIH in condemning racism and bigotry in all its forms and remains committed to contributing to health equity for all the world's people.  The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the inequities in our health systems – both at home and abroad.  Meanwhile, the harsh health impacts of climate change and the pandemic are disproportionately felt by the underserved populations around the world. 

Health equity is at the heart of our mission as we focus our scientific activities on disadvantaged populations in low-resource settings globally.  Across our grant programs and scientific activities, we strive to foster equitable research partnerships, ensure that participating communities benefit from knowledge gained, and empower local scientists to lead research and publications. 

Fogarty is also committed to improving diversity among our staff and the global health research workforce.  Diverse perspectives are essential to advancing science, especially in the global health arena where there are many differences in regional, gender, and cultural experiences. 

Program spotlight: Fogarty's Reducing Stigma to Improve HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Care in LMICs program includes grants focused on particularly marginalized or vulnerable communities.  As stigma is a global phenomenon, Fogarty recently highlighted several examples of interventions developed abroad that have been successfully transferred from LMICs to the United States, thus offering valuable lessons to the stigma research community in the United States. 

Program spotlight: Addressing health disparities is integral to Fogarty's approach to the scientific workforce.  The Health-Professional Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI),  led by African institutions, worked to strengthen the local health and research workforce, informed by the needs of local communities.  Developing a workforce that serves both urban and rural areas helps address health disparities that arise within these communities.

Updated March 28, 2022