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Advancing Science for Global Health
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Home > News > Fogarty bolsters research equity with $1.7 million in supplemental awards Print

​Fogarty bolsters research equity with $1.7 million in supplemental awards

September 5, 2023

Hands join in the middle of a huddle pictured from above, all wearing bright green Fogarty wristbands.

One of Fogarty's principal tenets is that scientists from diverse backgrounds and varied life experiences bring distinct perspectives to their work. Another is that researchers who are members of marginalized populations know what the most important local health problems are, and the right training will equip them to find the most effective, locally appropriate, and sustainable solutions. Based on these beliefs, Fogarty is providing more than $1.7 million in administrative supplements (additional funding to currently funded grants) to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in its research training programs.

Awards in Africa

Grants that received additional funds include the “Women and HIV: Translation of Research into Practice: Promoting DEI in the Kenya Medical Research Institute/University of Washington HIV Research Training Program," helmed by Dr. Carey Farquhar. The supplemental funding will support first generation Kenyan college graduates and students, especially women, who come from backgrounds of extreme poverty or from rural counties and so have limited educational opportunities. A second Kenyan award goes to Dr. John Kinuthia's project, “Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity in Research Training to Optimize HIV Prevention and Treatment." This award will contribute to the research training of six health providers in Turkana County; the Turkana people are a semi-nomadic tribe in the northwest region of the country. The funding also will help provide eLearning to an additional 60 health providers in the region. A third grant to the East African nation is earmarked for Dr. Craig Cohen's “Sustainable Development for HIV Health" training program. A student from a rural and impoverished community who plans to conduct transdisciplinary research while pursuing a PhD at Kenya's Maseno University will benefit from this funding.

DEI awardees on the continent include Dr. Scott Heysell's project, “Developing research leaders at the intersection of malnutrition and tuberculosis in Tanzania." The supplemental funding will provide US undergraduates from underrepresented minorities with a one-year internship embedded within the Tanzanian postdoctoral scientist-led team. Trainees will gain hands-on research experience and an understanding of global health engagement. Dr. Andrew Medina-Marino's “The Khulani Siphile Siphuhle Training Program" received support to train LGBTQI+ individuals from Historically Disadvantaged Institutions (HDIs) in South Africa who conduct HIV research with a focus on sexual and gender minorities. Two other South African projects won DEI supplements to enhance research opportunities and resources for HDIs: Dr. Gail Wyatt's “Sustainable Academic Capacity Building of Excellence through Research and Training Program Learning Collaborative" and Dr. Edward Murphy's “Blood Research and EnhAnced Training against HIV in South Africa."

Awards in other regions

Dr. Hani Mowafi's “Middle East and North Africa Program for Advanced Injury Research Training" won a supplemental grant earmarked for women working as junior faculty in trauma and injury research. In the same region Dr. Wael Al-Delaimy's project, “GeoHealth Hub for Climate Change and Health in the Middle East and North Africa," will make use of the additional funding to support trainees from disadvantaged rural and Syrian refugee communities in Jordan.

Across the globe in South America, the project, “Multidisciplinary Training Program in Neuropsychiatry," earned a Fogarty supplement. Its principal investigator, Dr. Gabriel De Erausquin, will apply the funds to support indigenous scholars, specifically Quechua-speaking neuroscientists. Dr. Brisa Sanchez's project, “Social determinants of cardiovascular disease risk over the life course," also received a DEI award. Diverse junior interdisciplinary researchers and research staff from underserved indigenous and rural populations in Guatemala will benefit from this extra support. Sanchez also intends to use the funds to establish partnerships with institutions in Guatemala and Nicaragua that have a track record of working with rural, indigenous communities. In Peru, Dr. Nelson Steenland's “Regional GEOHealth Hub" project will formalize research training collaborations at two universities with large populations of ethnic minority students while also recruiting indigenous trainees. Specifically, three junior faculty investigators interested in environmental health who come from Peru's regions of greatest poverty and environmental challenges will participate in one-year training fellowships, while scholarships will be granted to an additional 21 trainees.

In Asia, Dr. Albert Ko's project, “Research Mentoring and Building Capacity of underrepresented Minority Research Scientists in India," received a DEI supplement. The new grant will assist junior and mid-career scientists from underrepresented Indian minorities—women, scheduled castes and tribes, and religious minorities—to become better mentors to young scientists from similar underrepresented backgrounds. Finally, Fogarty also provided DEI funding to Dr. Virasakdi Chongsuvivatwong's project, “Research training and Capacity Strengthening for LMIC in Southeast Asia," to train Muslim women faculty and bachelor's degree graduates from ethnic minority groups in Sumatra, Indonesia. 

Additional benefits of awards

“In aggregate, these 14 supplements may potentially reach hundreds of new underrepresented trainees that would not otherwise be exposed to research training," said Dr. Flora Katz, Director of Fogarty's Division of International Training and Research. She administers the DEI initiative together with the Center's extramural program officers and grants management staff. “An expected, additional benefit is that these training programs will engage new institutions—those located in the areas where these underrepresented trainees live," Katz added. Such new partnerships are likely to have a sustainable impact, with collaborating institutions possibly becoming included in future grant renewals. 

Dr. Peter Kilmarx, acting director of Fogarty, concluded, “A diverse global health workforce increases the creativity and robustness of scientific research while also increasing the probability that the health needs of all populations within society will be addressed."

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