Photo by David SnyderFogarty support helps train AIDS
researchers at Sihanouk Hospital Center
of Hope in Cambodia
The prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association recently took note of Fogarty’s 40th anniversary with a look at some of its past accomplishments and its vision for the future.
In the “Medical News & Perspectives” section, JAMA’s Rebecca Voelker writes, “Fogarty’s objective is to help communities in low- and middle-income countries sustain research training for future generations of scientists who become committed to exploring and solving the health challenges of their home countries.”
The article details several examples of Fogarty programs that have had an impact on global health. For instance, a research collaboration in South Africa helped local scientists produce high-quality data that persuaded manufacturers to reduce emissions that had been causing asthma and other ailments among the area’s school children.
Dr. Tom Robins of the University of Michigan—who collaborated with Dr. Rajen Naidoo of the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine—said the project was designed to enhance local research talent as well as to improve public health. “It’s to actually study things that are important from the point of view of key health issues and the possibility of intervening and bringing about changes in policy.”
A second example describes research by Dr. Thomas Gaziano of Brigham and Women’s Hospital to develop an accurate but economical method of predicting cardiovascular disease risk that could be applied in low-resource settings. “My work with Fogarty focuses on identifying who is at high risk for cardiovascular disease so we can pinpoint those patients who will get access to limited medications and to services that help with smoking,” says Gaziano.
Future Fogarty projects will address the coming epidemic of chronic diseases in the developing world, a key focus of the Center’s new strategic vision. This provides the opportunity for Fogarty to engage with other NIH partners already working in the area, according to the Center’s director, Dr. Roger I. Glass. “Anything we find out about the prevention of stroke in China could come right back home to help us with stroke in the United States.”
Another Fogarty priority is implementation science. Or, as Dr. Jim Yong Kim of Harvard put it, “How do you take the tools we’ve developed and implement them?” To strengthen global health programs and ensure their sustainability, Kim says, “we have to look at the local culture and existing infrastructures.” By developing local scientific capacity, he says, “our outcomes will be much better.”
“Fogarty at 40: NIH Center Updates Its Strategies for Supporting Global Health.” Rebecca Voelker. JAMA. 2008;300(24):2841-2843.
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