Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MEPI Grants to Help Africa

HHS is partnering with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and plans to invest $130 million over five years to transform African medical education to dramatically increase the number of healthcare workers. The project called the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) will work towards PEPFAR’s goal to train and retain 140,000 new healthcare workers and will help sub-Saharan nations expand their abilities to provide healthcare.

The vast region in Africa has around 15 physicians for every 100,000 people and shoulders nearly one-quarter of the global burden of disease. Much of the funding will focus on medical education and research training related to HIV/AIDS while other grants will cover the training of researchers and clinicians on other issues such as maternal and child health, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mental illness.

The George Washington University Medical Center in Washington D.C. was awarded $12.5 million to be the coordinator for the health initiative grants in sub-Saharan Africa. GW received the funding to establish a coordinating center to evaluate the progress of the programs through data collection, site visits, and to help establish communication between the institutions.

The GW initiative will form a network to include about 30 regional partners, country health and education ministries, and more than 20 U.S. collaborators. GW will also be working with the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation to provide grantees with technical expertise and links to further resources.

GW will establish a web-based platform to enable participating institutions to strengthen their IT infrastructure, provide for virtual and face-to-face meetings plus an annual symposium, support distance education, data sharing, and establish clinical registries to help research and healthcare decision-making on national levels.

The GW project is being led by researchers Fitzhugh Mullan, the Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy, and Seble Frehywot, an assistant research professor of health policy and global health, both from the School of Public Health and Health Services.

Go to for a complete list of MEPI awards and collaborating partners.