Diaspora scientists can benefit U.S. programs

May - June, 2009 | Volume 8, Issue 3

"Diaspora Researchers —
those who decide to
relocate to America from
resource-poor countries
and who may return
home periodically."

Harnessing the skills, experience and contacts of foreign health researchers who come to the United States could strengthen American university global health programs and benefit the scientists' home countries, says a recent article by Fogarty Director Dr. Roger I. Glass and two colleagues.

"University leaders should develop strategies to facilitate collaboration between foreign researchers who choose to stay in the United States and local scientists in their home countries," advise Glass and coauthors Nalini P. Anand of Fogarty's policy, planning and evaluation division and division director Dr. Karen Hofman.

"Such strategies can catalyze opportunities for universities to strengthen their global health research activities and make a lasting impact on health worldwide."

The article, The globalization of health research: harnessing the scientific diaspora, published in the journal Academic Medicine, examines contributions to the U.S. economy and to their own nations of diaspora researchers—those who decide to relocate to America from resource-poor countries and who may return home periodically.

"The number of foreign-born scientists in the United States has already reached a critical mass," the authors say. Although there is no way of statistically measuring their contribution, "it seems plausible that foreign scientists have not only enriched the scientific workforce but have also bolstered the United States culturally and economically."

Their collaborations with U.S. institutions and those in their home countries can have a payoff for Americans' health as well. "For example, low-cost diagnostics and more nimble health services strategies used in resource-poor countries can also benefit underserved segments of the U.S. population," the article says.

More Information


Anand, Nalini P., Hofman, Karen J., Glass, Roger I. “The Globalization of Health Research: Harnessing the Scientific Diaspora.” Acad Med Volume 84(4), April 2009, pp 525-534

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