When President Donald Trump released his budget blueprint earlier this month, he included an 18 percent (or $5.8 billion) reduction in funding for the National Institutes of Health, as well as "a major reorganization of NIH's Institutes and Centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities." He also called for the elimination of the Fogarty International Center, a move that is of great concern to the global health community.
In today's USA Today, Michele Barry, MD, director of Stanford's Center for Innovation in Global Health, calls the Fogarty center "one of the most effective tools we have to fight global diseases" and highlights for readers some of its accomplishments:
For almost 50 years the center has done exactly what it was set up to do: Promote and facilitate international health research of mutual benefit to the U.S. and other countries, while training thousands of health researchers in more than 100 countries...
The tangible benefits of Fogarty's work are many: Albert Sabin, originally a Fogarty Scholar in Residence, mobilized efforts to eliminate polio and measles. The AIDS International Training and Research Program revolutionized scientific research and training and helped build HIV expertise in sub-Saharan Africa, where suffering was greatest. New insights to guide Alzheimer's research have come from collaboration with Colombian researchers. South African scientists are partnering on better ways to address multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, an emerging global problem. The genetics of obesity and diabetes are being tackled with Indian experts able to draw upon their populations. And early warning systems for pandemics are under development and testing with many African, Asian and South American scientists. These projects enhance the health of Americans in ways not possible without global insights.
Barry concludes by reiterating our country's "substantial return on investment from Fogarty" and noting that its elimination would "undermine progress, erode trust in America's leadership in global health, and increase the risk of a devastating and preventable epidemic in the U.S."
Previously: "Made-in-India" vaccine could save thousands of children and Federal investments in research and higher education key to U.S. maintaining innovation edge
Photo of Fogarty International Center by NIH History Office