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NIH Partners with PEPFAR to Strengthen Medical Education in Africa

Mon, 03/15/2010 - 9:20am
National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health has announced a new initiative to strengthen medical education in Sub-Saharan Africa, in collaboration with the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR. The program, called the Medical Education Partnership Initiative, is a joint effort of the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense and 19 components of NIH.

This program is in support of PEPFAR's goal to increase the number of new health care workers by 140,000, and will also serve the related objectives of strengthening host-country medical education systems and enhancing clinical and research capacity in Africa.

Foreign institutions and their partners in PEPFAR-supported Sub-Saharan African countries are invited to submit proposals to develop or expand models of medical education. These models are intended to contribute to the sustainability of country HIV/AIDS responses by expanding the pool of well-trained clinicians. The awards will also build the capacity of local scientists and health care workers to conduct multidisciplinary research, so that discoveries can more effectively be adapted and implemented in their communities and countries.

"As we transition from an emergency response to a more sustainable approach, we are supporting partner countries in leading the response to their epidemics," said Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. ""Shortages of trained doctors are a key constraint, and we are proud to support partner nations in expanding the number and quality of clinicians available and facilitate strong faculties of medicine so they can meet their people's needs over the long term."

The funding partners expect to award African institutions with as many as nine programmatic awards focused on PEPFAR priority areas. In addition, they plan to make six linked programmatic awards that support non-communicable diseases and priority health areas related to and beyond HIV/AIDS. Finally, the program will support one coordinating center.

"As new scientific discoveries are made about both infectious and non-communicable diseases, it is vital that we develop research capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa so that advances can be quickly adapted for local use," said NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D. Ph.D. "This program will not only strengthen medical education to produce much needed caregivers but will also generate well trained researchers who are able to apply a multidisciplinary and implementation focused approach to locally relevant scientific questions."

The application deadline is May 12, 2010 and awards are expected to be issued by the end of September.

The NIH Common Fund, NIH Office of AIDS Research, NIH Office of Research on Women's Health and PEPFAR will provide funding. Awards will be administered by the Fogarty International Center at NIH and the Health Resources and Services Administration on behalf of the funding partners, with guidance from the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator. Also collaborating in this initiative are the CDC and the DoD, in addition to 19 NIH components.

The complete Funding Opportunity Announcement, including information about how to apply, is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-TW-10-008.html.

The Fogarty International Center, the international component of the NIH, addresses global health challenges through innovative and collaborative research and training programs and supports and advances the NIH mission through international partnerships. For more information, visit www.fic.nih.gov.

The NIH Common Fund encourages collaboration and supports a series of exceptionally high impact, trans-NIH programs. These new programs are funded through the Common Fund, and managed by the NIH Office of the Director in partnership with the various NIH Institutes, Centers and Offices. Common Fund programs are designed to pursue major opportunities and gaps in biomedical research that no single NIH Institute could tackle alone, but that the agency as a whole can address to make the biggest impact possible on the progress of medical research. Additional information about the NIH Common Fund can be found at http://commonfund.nih.gov.

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