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Syrian Tobacco Center rated most productive in research

September / October 2011 | Volume 10, Issue 5

Man seated in chair observes computer screen and equipment as he inhales on a cigarette
Photo courtesy of the
Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies

A Fogarty supported collaboration between U.S. and Syrian scientists has been recognized for its research productivity. Research partners at the University of Memphis (UM), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and the Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies (SCTS) in Aleppo were highly rated by a new study from the University of Damascus and University of Michigan Health System. The study named the SCTS as the top institution in Syria in terms of productivity of high-quality biomedical research - outpacing much larger institutions with greater resources.

“The formula for this success is simple; the SCTS is made of professionals who understand what is needed to create a productive research environment, has some autonomy and was successful in competing for international research funding,” said Dr. Wasim Maziak, who has since left Memphis and is now professor of epidemiology at Florida International University, as well as director of SCTS.

According to the study, Damascus University and its affiliated hospitals generated 156 papers indexed by PubMed since 1980, or 56 percent of the clinical and biomedical research, followed by the SCTS (15 percent) and the Ministry of Health and its affiliated hospitals (9 percent). But when the age of the institution is considered, the SCTS, established in 2002 is the leading institution in research with an annual average of five publications per year.

Initial funding for the University and Memphis and the SCTS came from a five-year Fogarty International Tobacco and Health Research and Capacity Building Program grant, which has since been renewed. Maziak attributes this success to his partners on this project, Drs. Thomas Eissenberg (VCU) and Kenneth Ward (UM), as well as his Syrian team.

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