Brain Disorders in the Developing World Program Evaluation

Fogarty has conducted an evaluation of its Brain Disorders in the Developing World: Research Across the Lifespan Program. The report, guided by the Fogarty Framework for Program Assessment, analyzes program implementation, and identifies near-term and long-term outputs, outcomes and impacts.

A range of brain disorders emerge at various life stages, which pose particular challenges in the developing world, where expertise and treatment are lacking. In 2003, Fogarty and its NIH partners established the Brain Disorders program. Over the next 10 years, eight NIH Institutes and Centers joined Fogarty in providing a total of $84 million through 156 grants that support research in the area of nervous system development, function and impairment throughout life, as well as research training to build capacity in these scientific areas.

According to the evaluation report, program successes during the first ten years include:

Enhancing empirical evidence: Generated evidence in areas from mental health and substance abuse, to peripheral nervous system trauma, to gene environmental interactions. Participants published 435 peer-reviewed articles in 249 unique journals, in addition to 14 books or book chapters.

Generating spin-offs: Catalyzed funding from sources beyond NIH to support research and capacity building related to brain disorders. Sixty-five percent of awardees report having submitted applications to other funders for spin-offs, or new research projects that were catalyzed or otherwise enabled by the brain program.

Building capacity: Trained and mentored a robust cadre of brain disorders researchers, and strengthened the long-term capacity of LMIC institutions. Nearly all program participants reported their projects included training or mentoring at the LMIC site in skills, methods or procedures essential to the research project.

Influencing policy and public health: Data generated by program participants provided critical evidence used to inform international and national practice and policy.

The program evaluation was conducted with information from a survey, NIH databases and interviews with NIH staff, grantee investigators and foreign collaborators. Portions of the data collection and analysis were conducted by the Science and Technology Policy Institute, a federally funded research and development center chartered by Congress to advise U.S. government agencies. Data collection and analysis was designed and overseen by Fogarty's science policy division. Representatives from NIH partners with equities in the brain program reviewed and approved the report.

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Updated March 26, 2015