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Chronic disease research and training projects receive $14M investment from NIH

September / October 2020 | Volume 19, Number 5

Two joggers on outdoor track.
Photo by David Rochkind for Fogarty/NIH

Diabetes, multi-morbidity care management
and mental health issues are some of the
topics being addressed through new Fogarty
noncommunicable disease research and
training grants.

Cancer, diabetes, mental illness and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are on the rise and now claim more lives in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) than infectious diseases. To help address this, Fogarty and its funding partners have awarded about $13.9 million in 17 new grants to support NCD research and training in LMICs.

Global Noncommunicable Diseases and Injury Research program awards

Eight awards will fund exploratory research on a variety of NCD topics through Fogarty's Global Noncommunicable Diseases and Injury Research program. For example, a checklist designed to improve trauma care will be implemented and assessed for effectiveness at a number of hospitals in Ghana by scientists at the Kwame Nkrumah University (KNU). A second KNU award will fund the first genetic studies of a craniofacial birth defect in a sub-Saharan African population. In Mali, researchers at the University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako will adapt an existing diabetes prevention program targeting individuals and couples and evaluate its impact. If successful, the educational materials produced in French could be scaled up throughout Francophone West Africa. Meanwhile, Makerere University scientists will develop and test a social network-driven advocacy intervention to promote cervical cancer screening in Uganda.

In Mexico, the National Institute of Public Health will study exposure to aflatoxin, a fungal contaminant in food, and its impact on the country's increasing rates of hepatocellular cancer. Peru's Universidad Cayetano Heredia will investigate barriers to multimorbidity care management through patient interviews and other methods.

Researchers at two hospitals in Nepal will build capacity to implement and evaluate a package of essential NCD interventions recommended by the WHO, as well as explore facilitators and barriers to its implementation. Finally, the American University in Beirut (AUB) will form a multidisciplinary collaboration to examine and address the social, cultural and biological determinants of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East and North African region.

Chronic, Noncommunicable Diseases and Disorders Across the Lifespan program awards

In addition, nine grants will support research training projects through Fogarty's Chronic, Noncommunicable Diseases and Disorders Across the Lifespan program. For instance, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai will develop and conduct a multi-level capacity building program in environmental and occupational health for Costa Rican scientists. The University of California, San Francisco will use its award to produce an interdisciplinary cancer research training program in Tanzania to build a cadre of scientists throughout East Africa capable of advancing discoveries and informing cancer control planning in the region.

Meanwhile, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill aims to address the mental health treatment gap in Mali through a research training model designed to create a team of trained researchers, engage key stakeholders and establish links between research, policy and practice to maximize impact. In Uganda, the Mbarara University of Science and Technology will increase junior faculty expertise in multi-morbidity through a holistic understanding of health and a focus on social-behavioral and environmental determinants, while a grant to Makerere University will strengthen research training and mentorship to improve brain health. The University of Washington will collaborate with partners in Nepal and Kenya to address cardiometabolic diseases and risk factors through educational programs, strong mentorship and relevant research experiences.

Rutgers University will expand its existing botanicals-focused research training program in Tajikistan and begin offering training to Indonesian scientists as well. Local plants are studied for the prevention and treatment of inflammation-associated conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis and neurological disorders. The New York State Psychiatric Institute will leverage the mental health research training program it developed in Portuguese for Brazilian trainees to build capacity in Mozambique, where there are 29 million people and only 18 psychiatrists. AUB will strengthen its existing NCD research training program by developing advanced research methods modules, cultivating grassroots mentorship and offering fellowships to enhance research productivity.

Fogarty issued the NCD awards with co-funding provided by the Office of the NIH Director, Office of Dietary Supplements (NIH ODS), National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

2020 Global Noncommunicable Diseases and Injury Research awards

2020 Chronic, Noncommunicable Diseases and Disorders Across the Lifespan awards

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