Reviewers favor stigma program, epidemiology unit

July - August, 2009 | Volume 8, Issue 4

Photo: Dr. Gretchen Birbeck puts her arms around two young Zambian children

Dr. Gretchen Birbeck of Michigan
State University works on the team
conducting research into epilepsy-
associated stigma
.

Independent review panels recently recommended that Fogarty should retain its Stigma and Global Health Research program and strengthen its Division of International Epidemiology and Population Studies (DIEPS).

Reviewers recommended the stigma program be continued with an increased focus on outcome-targeted research in the next solicitation.

In addition, they suggested Fogarty should convene a meeting to identify challenges and best practices. They also encouraged the Center to work through partnerships and outreach to better incorporate the stigma issue into global health research agendas.

The panel concluded that the publication output of 49 papers by the 19 grantees was reasonable, especially since many of the projects are just reaching completion.

The program's initial awards were made in 2003, with many of them extended past the original five-year period.

A second review panel evaluating Fogarty's epidemiology division recommended it be strengthened based on its performance since it was established in 2001.

The team of five staff scientists, with assistance from various collaborators, has produced more than 250 journal articles, with an average of about 22 citations per publication.

The division has also brought in significant funding from other public and private sources, greatly leveraging its impact, the panel reported. Its research has helped influence vaccine strategies and informs planning for government response to pandemics and bioterror attacks.

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