Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Plan & Funds for Global Care

The Fogarty International Center, the international component of NIH, has just published a new Strategic Plan to direct the Center’s activities until 2012. The plan calls for the expansion of research training opportunities for U.S. and foreign scientists, providing a sustainable research environment, and forming new strategic alliances and partnerships globally.

“Fogarty’s new strategic plan provides the pathway toward developing sustainable global health research and training programs where they are needed the most”, according to Center Director, Dr. Roger I Glass.

The strategic plan’s first goal is to mobilize the scientific community to address the growing epidemic of chronic non-communicable diseases while continuing to address the unfinished infectious diseases agenda. The plan emphasizes the urgent need to deal with chronic diseases in low and middle income countries and to promote implementation science.

In line with the strategic plan concerning chronic diseases, FIC plans to issue seven full awards and two planning grants annually. The $1.5 million per year grant program is designed to build research capacity in areas such as stroke, lung disease, cancer, environmental factors, obesity, lifestyle, and the relationship of genetics to chronic diseases.

Full awards would receive $220,000 per year for up to five years with planning grants being allocated up to $27,000 each year for up to two years. Letters of intent are due August 31 and full applications must be submitted by September 29, 2008. The program seeks proposals from those working across disciplines, such as nutrition, business, behavioral health, health law, economics, environmental health, and urban planning.

The strategic plan emphasizes the urgent need not only to provide training but also to share information. To do this, the plan calls for developing more information and communication technologies (ICT). Fogarty also encourages using complex systems analysis and predictive modeling as research tools. Fogarty is holding a series of consultations with IT experts to guide these efforts.

ICT usage can range from accessing scientific literature to using sophisticated systems for long distance learning and for data management and analysis. Linkages will need to be established where resources and knowledge can be shared across sites in other languages and in real-time.

Fogarty is also going to sponsor developing alumni networks to link the newest generations with established leaders in global health science. The alumni networks can promote the exchange of information, and publicize research opportunities.

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