FY 2003 Statement of the Director
Fiscal Year 2003 Hearing on Collaborations in Biomedical Research
Gerald T. Keusch, M.D.
John E. Fogarty International Center for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences
Appearing before the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education Appropriations
April 9, 2002
In fiscal year 2003, the Fogarty International Center will celebrate 35 years of international collaboration in biomedical research and research training. However, at no time in our history as a nation is this mission more relevant or more important. Disparities in health and resources result in tragically high infant and child mortality rates in developing countries, while in the past decade the life expectancy of adults throughout Africa has plummeted, erasing the gains of the previous quarter century. In his speech to the UN General Assembly in November, 2001, President Bush recognized the inevitable consequences of the desperation and hopelessness that accompany poverty and ill health, saying that "we must offer an alternative of opportunity and hope." Biomedical research is an alternative of opportunity and hope. As NIH conducts research to improve the health of Americans we can also share our new knowledge and work to ensure that research addresses the critical global health needs that impact us all.
The Fogarty International Center is a leading edge for the NIH internationally. The Center is widely respected for its work to promote science for global health, as this profile in the April 2002 issue of "The Scientist," shown in the poster on the left, demonstrates. (Figure 1) Science is, in fact, inherently international, and discovery knows no borders. NIH collaborative research conducted abroad is essential for Americans. Research on tropical infectious diseases that may affect travelers, businessmen or our military cannot be done in the U.S., and research to better prevent mother to infant transmission of HIV is most definitively done where the burden of disease is greater than here. The Fogarty International Center also insures that this research is of the highest ethical standing and of mutual benefit through its training programs in research ethics.
Sometimes overlooked is the important role of science as diplomacy. Fogarty currently supports research by a U.S.-Israeli-Palestinian team to identify genes for hereditary deafness in a susceptible Bedouin population. As featured in the New York Times last week, this project is an example of bridging the enormous gap of politics through scientist to scientist relationships developed by working together on a shared agenda. Science training also trains leaders. As one of many examples, Crispus Kiyonga, M.D., Chair of the Working Group Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria was an earlier trainee in the Fogarty International AIDS training program. His experience in Uganda using the knowledge gained through collaborative research to identify interventions that would really work is essential to the future of this global initiative.
Today's theme is collaborations, and these are at the very center of Fogarty. In the poster on the right I have diagrammed three of our Fogarty global programs, AIDS, tobacco use prevention and cessation, and environment and health, to illustrate how central collaborations are. (Figure 2) They involve other ICs across the NIH, other parts of DHHS, and outside organizations. Each of the spokes you see represents a collaboration between Fogarty and a partner. These three programs involve 65 countries around the world, primarily low- and middle-income nations, including Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The programs are based upon close collaborations and networking between U.S. and foreign teams of scientists. It is entirely apt to say that for Fogarty and the other ICs at the NIH engaged in international research that collaboration is a way of life.
I will be happy to answer any questions you have about these, or any of the other Fogarty programs, as well as our plans for the coming year. Thank you.
The following two figures were presented by Dr. Keusch at the FY 2003 Hearing on Collaborations in Biomedical Research:
Figure 1. "The Seeding of Third World Science" The Scientist magazine, April 2002
Figure 2. Scientific Collaboration for Global Health.
This figure illustrates the collaborations that form three Fogarty global programs: AIDS, tobacco use prevention and cessation, and environment and health. The spokes each represent a collaboration between Fogarty and a partner. These three programs involve 65 countries around the world, primarily low- and middle-income nations, and are based upon close collaborations and networking between U.S. and foreign teams of scientists.