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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

Over the past 55 years of its existence, Fogarty has laid the groundwork to responding to the changing world by making foundational investments in the scientific workforce, developing global research networks that can quickly respond to challenges, harnessing new tools and research approaches, and devoting attention to emerging global challenges such as pandemics, climate change, and inequity as well as serving as the focal point for international affairs at NIH.

Investing in the scientific workforce

Central to Fogarty's mission is its focus on preparing the next generation of scientists to respond to current and future threats to health by providing them with opportunities to tie their biomedical research to real world applications. Nearly 8,500 individuals from 132 countries have trained through Fogarty programs since 1989. After completing their training, these individuals have gone on to become independent investigators, lead groundbreaking research studies, and contribute to significant scientific achievements.

This graphic shows a world map with five countries highlighted and including the following text: Brazil: In rural Brazil, scientists trained with Fogarty support to investigate Chagas disease redirected their efforts to examine Zika during a 2015 outbreak. Zika is not currently circulating within the U.S., but did so in Texas and Florida during past seasons.; Liberia: The 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak reverberated around the world. Fogarty and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) responded with research training grants, allowing scientists there to train in Fogarty programs and NIAID’s PREVAIL trial, which led to the development of a vaccine against the Zaire ebolavirus strain of the disease.; Botswana: After decades using genomic sequencing to study HIV/AIDS, former Fogarty Fellow Sikhulile Moyo was well-prepared to pivot to COVID-19, establishing national guidelines for testing and genomic surveillance. Moyo’s Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute lab identified what would be labeled the omicron variant in November 2021.; Malaysia: Yale University’s Frederick Altice and his colleague Adeeba Kamarulzaman established COVID-19- related trainings and activities through an existing implementation science training program.; Cambodia: When Cambodia identified its first patient with COVID-19, former Fogarty Scholar Jessica Manning sequenced the genome of a virus sample and posted it on a global database, providing insights for vaccine development and helping to track the transmission, mutation and spread of the disease. See caption for a link to a high resolution version.Fogarty International Center Strengthening Global Health Workforce: Map highlighting Fogarty International Center's impact in strengthening of the global health workforce. High-resolution image [JPG, 2 MB]

Program spotlight: The Global Health Program for Fellows and Scholars, recently renamed the Launching Future Leaders in Global Health Research Training Program (LAUNCH), supports mentored research training for early career researchers in global health at established biomedical and health research institutions and project sites in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This program, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, is implemented by seven consortia of U.S. universities. There are nearly 1,450 alumni from the program who are now leaders in a wide variety of health-related fields.

Trainee spotlight: Former Fogarty Global Health Fellow and Emerging Global Leader Dr. Eric Nelson created MotoMeds, an innovative pediatric telemedicine and medication delivery service in Haiti and Ghana.

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 innovation

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

A pregnant woman is screened by two health workers with a mobile health (mHealth) app in rural GuatemalaCourtesy of Bryan Watt, Photograpers Without Borders

Program spotlight: Through support from the NIH Common Fund and in partnership with 10 NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, Fogarty helped launch the 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. The program recently awarded new Partnership for Innovation Research Projects for new and early-stage African investigators who are using tools like mobile microscopy, artificial intelligence, and geospatial analysis to address health challenges such as malaria, heart disease, and pediatric HIV.  In conjunction, new Research Education projects are supporting state-of-the-art courses for data science skill development

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 stage followed by opportunities for scaling up only the interventions that are proven effective. Grantees from this program are using tools such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, low-cost imaging, and mobile apps to address cancer diagnosis, hypertension, mental health, and many other health challenges. Over the past eight years, the program has supported digital health research in 42 LMICs, resulting in 269 publications and five patent applications. Two grantees have gone on to win first place in the NIH Technology Accelerator Challenge for innovations developed from their mHealth grant.

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. 

Fogarty's investments in the scientific workforce and collaborative networks contributed to the ability of researchers around the world to quickly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Past and current grantees and trainees played a significant role in the COVID-19 response in Haiti, Peru, South Africa, and many other countries while rising to leadership positions and providing expert analysis to policymakers. Building on these experiences, the Fogarty network of U.S. and international scientists is even more prepared to collaborate across borders and is positioned to rapidly respond to new and emerging outbreaks and pandemics.

DIEPS serves as Fogarty’s in-house research team and is a leading partner for the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub and Flu Scenario Modeling Hub, two academic/government consortia that use advanced computational models to forecast the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza variants in the U.S. to guide federal and local health authorities, public health experts, and the general public. The scenario hubs’ forecasts informed the expansion of the primary COVID-19 vaccine schedule to school-age children in 2021 as well as booster recommendations in fall 2022. These experiences, capabilities, and networks can be quickly mobilized to respond to new infectious disease threats.

Trainee spotlight: Current and former Fogarty grantee Dr. Christian Happi sequenced the first SARS-CoV-2 strain identified in Nigeria during the pandemic and is now leading research on a variety of infectious diseases as the director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID).Former Fellow Dr. Sikhulile Moyo discovered the omicron variant in Botswana and continues to lead research as the director of the Botswana-Harvard AIDS Partnership lab. Their labs can sequence genomes of pathogens in-country instead of sending samples abroad, which allows them to trace outbreaks and inform public policy more rapidly.

Responding to climate change

Photo showing young men walking with masks through pollution-induced haze in IndiaCourtesy Centre for Environmental Health—India

Over the past decade, several Fogarty programs have explored the impacts of environmental and climate change on human health, especially on underserved populations. Fogarty partnered with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and several other NIH Institutes to lead the planning and implementation of the NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative to reduce health threats from climate change across the lifespan and build health resilience in individuals, communities, and nations around the world that are most likely to be affected.

Program spotlight: Fogarty awarded supplement awards to current grantees, enabling them to broaden their work to include climate change impacts on health. These awards address a wide range of topics, such as the effects of climate change on air quality and asthma in Peru, how land use changes affect the spread of disease in rural Madagascar, and the impacts of climate change on sepsis in Bangladeshi children. These projects address the initiative's core pillars—health effects research, health equity, intervention research, and training and capacity building—with a goal of preparing for future health threats from climate change.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in global health research

Health equity and equitable research are 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.

In 2022, Fogarty and seven partner Institutes and Centers requested input on approaches NIH might take to promote greater equity in global health research conducted in low- and middle-income countries. The NIH Report on Request for Information on Promoting Equity in Global Health Research includes an analysis of all 186 responses received from a diverse range of organizations, including academic institutions, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, and health care systems.

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: Fogarty provided more than $1.7 million in administrative supplements to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in its research training programs. The additional funding to currently funded grants will support first generation Kenyan college graduates and students, LGBTQI+ individuals from Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDIs) in South Africa who conduct HIV research with a focus on sexual and gender minorities, trainees from disadvantaged rural and Syrian refugee communities in Jordan, Quechua-speaking neuroscientists in Bolivia and Peru, junior and mid-career scientists from underrepresented Indian minorities, among other groups and populations as defined by grant recipients

Updated January 12, 2024