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Top global health research stories of 2020 from Fogarty and NIH

December 3, 2020

Researcher wearing a mask takes notes on a clipboard while interviewing a masked subject in a clinic. 

Digital map of Africa. 

Female researchers works in a lab with a microscope. 

Dr. Jessica Manning works with a child patient in a clinic setting in Cambodia while others look on. 

Photo credits:
Courtesy of Themba Nxumalo
iStock
Courtesy of University of the West Indies
Courtesy of Tyler Mahal

During an unprecedented year of challenges for the global health research community, as the COVID-19 pandemic circled the globe, Fogarty and its extensive network of international partners responded to the health crisis, and continued to build and leverage global partnerships, and train the next generation of global health leaders. This year's top selections from readers and editors of the Fogarty International Center's Global Health Matters newsletter demonstrate the global health research community's dedication, flexibility and resilience.

  1. As a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Fogarty and NIH grantees, trainees and fellows are helping lead and support COVID-19 response efforts in low-resource countries and regions, including confronting ethical issues of conducting research during a pandemic, capturing 'lived experiences' of frontline health care workers, and leveraging infectious disease training to support the COVID-19 response.

  2. Fogarty Director Dr. Roger I. Glass explored ways to make progress on the difficult but vital goals of decolonizing and democratizing global health.

  3. The NIH Common Fund launched the $58M Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) program, along with a virtual symposium and networking platform to support data science researchers on the African continent. Fogarty’s director made the case for why now is the time to invest in this critical area of research.

  4. Fogarty and NIH renewed their commitment to end racism and promote equality by contributing to meaningful solutions, individually and through collective efforts.

  5. NIH closed loopholes governing grantees to continue to reduce sexual harassment in science. Fogarty awarded grant supplements so low- and middle-income country institutions can shore up policies, conduct training and create awareness of sexual harassment and processes to report it.

  6. Research supported by Fogarty and NIH partners on mobile health technology and outcomes in low- and middle-income countries has catalyzed innovation.

  7. Fogarty examined pain relief research priorities and treatment options in low-resource settings.

  8. To encourage emerging global leaders, Fogarty allocated $4 million to support early-career scientists.

  9. Former Fogarty trainee Dr. Lloyd Mulenga discussed combining roles as a physician, scientist and policymaker in Zambia, and his hopes for the next generation of young scientists.

  10. Early-career investigators supported through Fogarty's Global Health Fellows and Scholars have continued - to the fullest extent possible - their collaborative, mentored research training opportunities, receiving encouragement from NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins during the first-ever virtual orientation. Profiles highlighted former fellows' efforts to evaluate a novel malaria detection device in Cameroon, and to help Cambodia respond to COVID.

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