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Top global health research stories of 2021 from Fogarty and NIH

January 6, 2022

With the world still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic and coming to terms with systemic health inequity, Fogarty and its extensive network of international partners continued in 2021 to support, fund and train the next generation of global health leaders. Here are the top stories of the year, as judged by the readers and editors of Global Health Matters.

Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Roger Glass stand in front of the Zika Forest sign in Uganda 

Dr. Patience A. Muwanguzi pointing to test results meets with a patient in a clinic 

Female researchers works in a lab with a microscope. 

Woman seated indoors breastfeeds a baby. 

Photo credits:
NIH
Racheal Nabunya
Dr. Joseph Matovu
Tareq Salahuddin

  1. NIH marked the end of an era with the announcement that long-time director Francis Collins was stepping down at the end of 2021
  2. To help address significant challenges in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in low-resource nations, Fogarty awarded $3.3M in COVID-19 supplements to support research and training.
  3. NIH is investing in new technologies to help spur innovation in global health research, awarding $75M to boost data science research in Africa and announcing a $100M investment in Artificial Intelligence.   
  4. The Fogarty-managed Medical Education Partnership Initiative Junior Faculty Research Training (MEPI-Jr) program provided training, mentorship and research support to 362 junior faculty fellows, whose stories of accomplishment provide inspiration and demonstrate the program’s impact.
  5. Fogarty’s Director Dr. Roger I. Glass renewed the call to invest in Africa to improve economy and health and the Center’s commitment to stand against structural racism in biomedical research.
  6. Fogarty’s Center for Global Health and its partners produced a number of significant publications as part of their efforts to encourage timely and high-quality health research in humanitarian crises and to craft the U.S.-Latin American research agenda on childhood obesity.
  7. Former Fogarty trainees are assuming senior global health positions, including Andrew Kambugu  and Emmy Okello in Uganda—just two examples of how the Center is helping build the next generation of low- and middle-income country (LMIC) leaders.
  8. Fogarty Fellows and Scholars, early career scientists who spend a year of mentored research abroad, are making a difference: leading a WHO infectious disease elimination program, becoming an NIH lab chief and studying HIV self-testing in a Ugandan fishing community.
  9. Breastfeeding in LMICs poses complex research questions: studying cultural factors, investigating how to prevent HIV transmission and examining how water insecurity can disrupt nursing.
  10. Fogarty salutes the vital work of the National Cancer Institute and its Center for Global Health, as they achieve significant milestones. Contributions to reducing the global cancer burden include addressing cancer inequities, training foreign scientists at NIH and supporting economic studies of tobacco farming in LMICs to influence policy change.

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