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Fogarty seeks fresh perspectives in global health research and training

June 18,  2024

By Fogarty Deputy Director Dr. Peter Kilmarx

Photo of Dr. Peter Kilmarx smilingDr. Peter Kilmarx
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The Fogarty International Center envisions a future where the boundaries of health research extend across the globe, bringing scientific advancements to people everywhere. Central to this mission is the inclusion of individuals from all backgrounds in the research process. Diverse teams are known to achieve superior outcomes, and those from communities facing health disparities possess unique insights into their specific health challenges. By involving these populations, we can develop solutions that are not only effective but also culturally appropriate and sustainable.

I'm very pleased to share Fogarty's recent Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) for Administrative Supplements to Fogarty International Center's Research Training and Educational Development Grants: Opportunity Pathways in Global Health Research and Training which aims to bring diverse perspectives to the research workforce. With these supplements, we intend to support existing research training programs in their efforts to provide a foundation in research design, methods, and analytic techniques for a diverse set of trainees. Training may include mentored research projects, practicums, workshops, short courses, networking, career mentoring, or other activities that can be accomplished within the supplement award year. Investigators with Fogarty D43, U2R, R25, and UE5 research training and education development grantees with at least one year remaining at the time of submission, exclusive of no cost extensions, are encouraged to apply.

Health research training has the power to equip individuals from populations that are underrepresented as researchers with the skills and knowledge necessary to combat disease threats and enhance population health. By training and supporting these researchers, we elevate their perspectives, ensuring their experiences are recognized and valued. This approach allows us to address the health needs of marginalized communities more effectively.

Illustration of stylized people representing various races and ethnicities Image credit: Adobe Stock

Last year, Fogarty provided more than $1.7 million in administrative supplements to promote training of people with diverse perspectives. We received exceptional applications and achieved robust geographic, scientific, and population diversity with the supplements we were able to award. Grants that received additional funds included support for first-generation Kenyan college graduates and students, especially women, who come from backgrounds of extreme poverty or from rural counties with limited educational opportunities. A second Kenyan award is supporting research training for health providers in Turkana County; the Turkana people are a semi-nomadic tribe in the northwest region of the country. Another award is supporting training for individuals from Historically Disadvantaged Institutions in South Africa who conduct HIV research with a focus on sexual and gender minorities.

In the Middle East, one supplemental grant is supporting women working as early-career faculty in trauma and injury research and another is supporting trainees from disadvantaged rural and Syrian refugee communities in Jordan.  In South America, indigenous scholars, specifically Quechua-speaking neuroscientists in Peru and Bolivia, are being trained, as well as early-career interdisciplinary researchers and research staff from underserved indigenous and rural populations in Guatemala. And in Asia, the supplemental funding is assisting early- and mid-career scientists from underrepresented Indian groups to become better mentors to scientists from similar underrepresented backgrounds. A Fogarty funding supplement is also supporting the training of women faculty and bachelor's degree graduates from groups with fewer training opportunities in Indonesia.

We hope these supplements will empower researchers to help their communities identify and tackle their own health challenges, reducing reliance on external experts who may lack contextual knowledge. This approach fosters trust, enhances understanding between researchers and communities, and addresses power imbalances often seen between researchers and the communities they study.

We envision this initiative leading to improvements in health equity and the development of sustainable local research capacity where it is needed most. We aim to learn from these experiences, adopting new approaches and techniques to reduce health disparities, including within the United States.

Health research training is a powerful catalyst for promoting research equity, social justice, and improved health. It is particularly impactful for individuals from populations underrepresented in health research. By harnessing the talent, experiences, and perspectives of a more inclusive and diverse global health research workforce, we can make significant strides toward achieving greater health equity for all.

At Fogarty International Center, we remain committed to supporting health research training programs worldwide. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with NIH and global partners in this vital endeavor.

More Information and Inquiries

Updated July 12, 2024

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