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Fogarty International Center (FIC)

Tuesday, May 20, 2003
3:00 p.m. ET

Irene Edwards
(301) 496-2075

Fogarty International Center Announces New Fogarty-Ellison International Clinical Research Training Program for U.S. and Developing Country Students in the Health Sciences

Bethesda, Maryland — The Fogarty International Center (FIC) announced today a new program that provides early career opportunities for U.S. graduate students in the health professions to participate in mentored clinical research in developing countries. FIC and the Ellison Medical Foundation will support the program jointly. The Association of American Medical Colleges, in collaboration with the Association of Schools of Public Health, will provide administrative support. The announcement was made at the FIC 35th Anniversary Symposium, “Global Health: A Challenge to Scientists.”

“As the United States and nations around the world strive to address new challenges in global health, and to translate basic research advances into clinical care, we have become acutely aware of the need for training of clinical investigators,” said Gerald T. Keusch, M.D., Director of the Fogarty International Center and NIH Associate Director for International Research. “More importantly, to meet pressing challenges, the next generation of clinical researchers will benefit from hands-on experience in conducting trials and studies in countries where the disease burdens are highest, typically in the poorest countries,” he added.

This new program, which offers one year of mentored clinical research training at a site in the developing world, will expand international opportunities to graduate level U.S. students in the health professions, paired with students from the host country, with the hope that such experiences during a formative period will encourage them to pursue careers in clinical research, particularly related to global health.

Initial training sites are in Botswana, Brazil, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mali, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, and Zambia. These sites were selected from a large number of potential programs because of their existing capacity to provide an outstanding clinical research training experience to one or more pair of Fogarty-Ellison scholars. Each site has both an FIC international training grant and NIH-funded clinical research, strong ethical review and oversight of clinical research, committed interest and expertise in mentoring students, appropriate research facilities, and suitable infrastructure arrangements for housing, food, and transportation. Dr. Pierce Gardner, Senior Advisor for Clinical Research and Training at FIC, highlighted the program’s matching of scholars from the U.S. and the host country, which he said will “foster peer level teaching and support, and establish relationships for the future to build an international community of research scholars.” Additional sites will be added in the coming years.

“This is an important investment in the genesis of the next generation of U.S. and developing country investigators committed to clinical research careers in global health and international collaboration,” said Dr. Richard Sprott, Executive Director of the Ellison Medical Foundation. “The Fogarty-Ellison Program expands on opportunities offered by NIH-associated networks for international research in infectious diseases, child health, mental health, cancer, and other fields, which provide training opportunities for both developing country and U.S. students in the health professions,” he added.

The program builds on international training and research grants supported by FIC and collaborating NIH institutes, which have been critically important to training scientists and health professionals from developing nations in research, and in helping them to establish careers in their home country.

The first annual competition for the Fogarty-Ellison Program will begin in the fall of 2003 for training that will commence in July of 2004. Additional information is available on the program website at: www.aamc.org/overseasfellowship.

FIC is the international component of the NIH. It promotes and supports scientific discovery internationally and mobilizes resources to reduce disparities in global health. FIC is commemorating its 35th anniversary with a year- long lecture series on global health issues and a scientific symposium on May 20-21, 2003. 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.

The Ellison Medical Foundation, a non-profit corporation established and supported by Lawrence J. Ellison, funds biomedical research, training and related scientific activities, through programs on the biology of aging and on infectious diseases of global health importance.

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