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Fogarty International Center (FIC)

Monday, June 30, 2003

Irene Edwards
(301) 496-2075

Fogarty International Center Announces New Global Health Informatics Training Program

Bethesda, Maryland — The Fogarty International Center (FIC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces a new program that funds international collaborations between the United States and low- and middle-income countries to create informatics training programs in support of global health research. FIC has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) for the Informatics Training for Global Health (ITGH) Program with three NIH partners, the National Library of Medicine, the National Human Genome Research Institute, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The current combined financial commitment from FIC and its partners is approximately $1.5 million in the first year to support up to six five-year training programs, subject to the availability of funds.

From genetics to disease surveillance and clinical trials, research in global health is increasingly driven by multinational collaborations and large datasets that require computer-supported management and analysis. FIC Director Gerald T. Keusch, M.D. noted that "although access to computers and the Internet is becoming more commonplace in research institutions throughout the developing world, there remains a critical need for individuals who have the advanced skills to take full advantage of the analytic capacity these tools provide." "This FIC program provides the necessary training to help address this need." Flora Katz, Ph.D., FIC Program Officer for the ITGH, added.

The current RFA grew out of FIC's International Training in Medical Informatics Program, which was initiated in 1998 and supports training programs in 10 countries. That program funded projects exclusively in low- and middle-income nations of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, strengthening medical informatics capacity by training health professionals in informatics skills and technologies relevant to the health and biomedical research needs of their countries.

The new ITGH Program expands on the previous program by broadening the geographic scope as well as the kinds of training supported. The ITGH will support partnerships between U.S. institutions and institutions in any low- or middle-income country that has active research programs in global health that are currently supported by the NIH. The program encourages collaborations between computer scientists and biomedical and behavioral scientists. Areas for training are broadly defined as any informatics skills that contribute to biomedical or behavioral research in global health. These include, but are not limited to, data management, biostatistics, disease surveillance, and epidemiology. In this second iteration new areas of pursuit are encouraged, including bioinformatics, computer modeling, and bioimaging analysis. Informatics training must be integrated with ongoing research programs so that both informatics capacity and biomedical research at the institution are enhanced, and projects supported under this program should lead to the development of sustainable training opportunities for informatics in the foreign country after the conclusion of the project.

Applications for Informatics Training for Global Health are due by Oct. 23, 2003. The Request for Applications for this program may be found at http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-TW-03-008.html.

FIC is the international component of the NIH. It promotes and supports scientific discovery internationally and mobilizes resources to reduce disparities in global health. NIH is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Press releases and other FIC-related materials are available at www.fic.nih.gov.

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