Fogarty emphasizes core programs & core values during its transition
January/ February 2023 | Volume 22 Number 1
I was honored to be asked to serve as
acting director of the Fogarty International Center and acting NIH associate director for international research while the search for a permanent director is ongoing. I’ve served as the deputy director for more than seven years and am very grateful to former Director Dr. Roger Glass for his leadership and mentoring in that time. I look forward to ongoing interactions with him in his new role as a senior scientist emeritus. I’m also very pleased that Dr. Rachel Sturke has agreed to serve as acting deputy director during this period of transition. She is a recognized global expert on implementation science and, having been with Fogarty since 2006, is exceptionally qualified to help keep us moving full speed ahead.
blogs and articles from Acting Fogarty Director Dr. Peter Kilmarx.
I know well the critical role played by Fogarty in advancing global health research and I am also well-acquainted with the extraordinary abilities and commitment of the Fogarty team. This is an exciting time with substantial challenges in global health but also major opportunities for global health research, partnership building, and capacity strengthening. Pandemic preparedness is a global imperative, with research training as a key component. We’ve seen firsthand how scientists who were trained with support from Fogarty contributed to and in some cases
led the global response to COVID-19. Today, there remain significant unfinished research agendas for COVID-19 and also for longer-standing infectious disease scourges, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. We also plan to continue our support of the
One Health concept, which takes a transdisciplinary approach to address zoonotic and vector-borne diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and other threats.
While I serve as acting director, we will also emphasize planetary health, which focuses on the already large and growing health impacts of human disruptions to earth’s systems, especially climate change, but also declining biodiversity, increasing pollution, and shortages of natural resources. I’m excited to represent Fogarty on the Executive Committee of the
NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative, together with NIEHS and several other Institutes and Centers (ICs), developing NIH-wide initiatives to address this existential threat.
Another area I will continue to highlight is noncommunicable diseases. The impacts of chronic diseases, which include cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes, have increased substantially in recent years, especially in low- and middle-income countries. They remain a priority area for Fogarty in collaboration with other NIH ICs, the
Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, and other partners. Many of these illnesses have overlapping risk factors, such as hypertension, high body mass index, high plasma glucose, and ambient air pollution, which are also increasing and so suggest important areas for research and intervention.
We will also press forward with critical cross-cutting areas. Implementation research—promoting the uptake of evidence-based policies and interventions—is needed for all fields to address persistent gaps in successful enactment and distribution of care. We’re also seeing the promise of data science, digital health, and related technologies to address multiple health problems. Fogarty staff performed lead roles in the NIH Common Fund supported the Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) and Mobile Health: Technology and Outcomes in Low and Middle Income Countries (mHealth) programs, both of which have significant interest from the scientific community and engagement with other NIH ICs.
Finally, I’m especially interested in the distinct but related issues of promoting equity in our global health research partnerships as well as linking efforts to address health disparities and engaging underrepresented populations in global health research in the United States and abroad. We see strengthening research capacity in resource-poor settings as the most effective way to improve global health in the long run. Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values will help ensure our success.
I welcome your input during this pivotal time. Please get in touch at:
Updated February 13, 2023
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