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NIH Awards Global Informatics Grants

The Fogarty International Center, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced it will award more than $9.23 million to eight global health informatics programs over the next five years. Fogarty's Informatics Training for Global Health program is intended to increase informatics expertise in low- and middle-income countries by training scientists to design information systems and apply computer-supported management and analysis to biomedical research. Medicine and biomedical research are knowledge-based fields that depend upon the sharing of information.

Informatics, the science of handling large volumes of information, can help link physicians and researchers around the world so that they can share knowledge ranging from the best care of patients to issues in collaborative research. The grants are being awarded to both new and ongoing informatics programs at various international sites.

Two of the awards will fund new informatics programs in South America. The first is a collaborative effort between the University of Pittsburgh and Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia, designed to build the capacity of individuals in the field of health informatics with an emphasis on clinical research. The second grant will allow Oregon Health and Science University to combine the existing strengths of its informatics and epidemiology program with that of the Italian Hospital of Buenos Aires in Argentina, to develop a focus in clinical and translational research informatics.

Another grant will support the creation of the Andean Global Health Informatics Research and Training Center, a regional center of excellence in global health informatics. The center will be administered by the Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, Peru, with participation from the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center Detachment in Lima, the University of Cauca in Colombia, the Andina University of Simon Bolivar in Ecuador and the University of Washington in Seattle.

A collaboration among researchers from the University of Georgia, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation Rene Rachou Research Institute and the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, will use its grant to bolster an existing training project by expanding into new areas of bioinformatics, epidemiology and molecular evolution, with a focus on tropical parasites and their vectors and hosts.

A grant awarded to the University of California, San Diego will support the Biomedical Research Informatics for Global Health Training program. Based in Sao Paulo, the program was initially developed to build capacity in Brazil. The funding will allow for expansion into a South-South network by extending informatics curricula and training in Portuguese to researchers in Maputo, Mozambique.

Vanderbilt University's award will support a new informatics training partnership with two research institutions in India, the National AIDS Research Institute in Pune and the National Institute of Epidemiology in Chennai. The program will have an emphasis on HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.

A longtime informatics grantee, the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa will use its new award to develop research and training capacity in informatics through a Pan-African collaborative initiative involving institutions in Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The funds will allow the University of KwaZulu-Natal to continue to offer postgraduate programs in informatics while assisting other universities in Africa to establish their own medical informatics training programs.

And a grant will support the development of an East African Center of Excellence in Health Informatics. The center will be a major resource for improving local human capacity for health informatics and clinical research in sub-Saharan Africa, building upon an almost two-decade collaboration between Indiana University and Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya.

Participating with Fogarty as NIH funding partners in the informatics training program are the National Library of Medicine and the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Source: National Institutes of Health