The Fogarty International Center's new strategic plan intensifies focus on chronic non-communicable diseases while continuing to address the unfinished infectious diseases agenda.
The plan, which will direct the Center's activities until 2012, also encourages implementation science to address the "know-do" gap, and would expand research training opportunities for U.S. and foreign scientists, fosters a sustainable research environment in low- and middle-income countries and builds strategic partnerships to further global health.
"Fogarty's new strategic plan provides the pathway toward developing sustainable global health research and training programs where they are needed most," according to Center Director Dr. Roger I. Glass.
"It is vital that we create in-country research capacity in the developing world so that decisions regarding research and policy rest in local hands. We have valuable assistance to offer but, ultimately, countries must be able to solve their own health problems."
Fogarty developed its strategic plan with significant input from stakeholders around the world, provided in person during meetings held in Maryland and Cairo, and via e-mail through the Center's Web site.
Throughout the process, Dr. Glass also consulted with the other NIH Institute and Center directors, leaders of non-governmental organizations, and others prominent in global health research. A final draft of the plan was circulated and posted on the web for comments, which were considered before the plan was published.
To execute the new agenda, Fogarty staff have formed working groups to address each of the goals and to develop action plans for achieving them. In addition, the Center's senior leadership has recently held meetings to consult with private and public global health leaders on next steps.
"These five goals give Fogarty renewed momentum in our mission to support global health research, build partnerships between U.S. and foreign research institutions and train the next generation of scientists to address the world's compelling research needs," said Glass. "We are energized and have already begun to make strides toward achieving these goals with the hope of reducing disease, improving health and extending the lives of all people, regardless of where they live."
Address the growing epidemic of chronic, non-communicable diseases
The plan's first goal is to mobilize the scientific community to address the growing epidemic of chronic, non-communicable diseases related to increased longevity and changing lifestyles in the developing world.
To accomplish this, Fogarty plans to address investment in this area, while continuing to invest in the critical infectious diseases agenda. The Center recently announced a new $1.5 million a year program to support non-communicable diseases research training, with seven awards expected annually.
In addition, the Center is working with other NIH components and private partners to develop further chronic disease initiatives.
Dr. Glass and Dr. Betsy Nabel, director of National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, both joined the Grand Challenges Global Partnership, an international effort to curb deaths from chronic, non-communicable diseases organized by the Oxford Health Alliance and supported by a number of global research funding organizations.
Bridge the implementation research training gap
Secondly, Fogarty plans to foster implementation research training in order to help reduce the "know-do" gap, which prevents discoveries from being put into practice, particularly in resource-poor countries. The Center plans to expand its International Clinical, Operational and Health Services Research Training Award program for AIDS and TB and has reinforced the initiative's support for implementation research.
Fogarty also will encourage implementation science to be applied to the recommendations from the Disease Control Priorities Project, which proposed cost-effective interventions that could significantly reduce the burden of disease in developing countries. DCPP is a joint effort of Fogarty, the WHO, the World Bank and the Population Reference Bureau.
Develop human capital in developing world
Because Fogarty's impact has historically been most significant in developing the pipeline of U.S. and foreign research talent, its third goal reinforces that ongoing need. The Center intends to expand the number of overseas research experiences available for young U.S. scientists in order to encourage them to adopt careers in global health. Fogarty will also continue its research training partnerships between U.S. and foreign institutions and strive to enhance research opportunities for foreign scientists when they return home.
Foster a sustainable research environment in low- and middle-income countries
The plan's fourth goal stresses the need to continue to build and sustain the local research enterprise in low- and middle-income countries so that scientists will have the support necessary to conduct their research. Key strategic priorities include establishing linkages or hubs for sharing resources and knowledge across sites and encouraging the adoption of information technology to advance research progress. Fogarty is holding a series of consultations with IT experts to guide these efforts.
Build strategic alliances and funding partnerships
Under the final goal, the Center seeks to capitalize on the rising tide of private and public funding devoted to global health by building new strategic alliances and partnerships. Fogarty will work to maintain and strengthen existing partnerships with other NIH components, U.S. government agencies and private collaborators while forging ties with the many new private sector organizations in the global health arena.
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