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Updates in global health activities; Dr. Shurin named chair of Global Alliance for Chronic Disease

Dr. Susan Shurin - January 10, 2012

Dr. Shurin (right) with two men
Dr. Susan Shurin with Dr. Xuetao Cao (left) and Dr. Abdallah Daar (center) at the GACD meeting in Canberra, Australia. Photo credit NHMRC.

The NHLBI’s Global Health Program continues to grow and thrive. In October, Drs. Arun Chockalingam and Cristina Rabadán-Diehl, director and deputy director of the NHLBI Office of Global Health, hosted a meeting of our Centers of Excellence in Chronic Disease in Bethesda. We were joined by our major partner, UnitedHealth Group, represented by Simon Stevens and Richard Smith, and by a variety of other interested parties, including representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Lois Quam, executive director of the Global Health Initiative at the U.S. Department of State. The investigators in the Centers of Excellence (COE) program have created projects that are progressing magnificently, are accruing participants in observational studies, and should have publications within the next year or two. More information is available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/globalhealth/.

After Thanksgiving, the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease (GACD) met in Canberra, Australia.  Participating member organizations will be funding the first GACD collaborative RFA, "Reducing the Impact of Hypertension in Low and Middle Income Countries" (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-HL-12-027.html), early in 2012. The NHLBI and the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS) will be funding the NIH components of the RFA. GACD has engaged a Secretariat, which will be located at the Institute for Global Health at University College London. The GACD's new executive director, Ms. Celina Gorre, will start this month.

At the meeting in Canberra, I was elected the chair of the GACD. This is a two-year term in which I will be working closely with my colleagues Dr. Abdallah Daar, the past chair of GACD, and Dr. Xuetao Cao of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, the chair-elect. We are planning to establish working groups to focus on disease areas and reach out to potential members (public funders of research) and partners in the non-governmental and industrial communities to advance our work in implementation science. Other NIH institutes currently engaged include the Fogarty International Center, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and NINDS.  We expect to engage other NIH Institutes for whom chronic non-communicable diseases are a priority. 

The GACD meeting took place adjacent to the 75th anniversary of Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in Canberra, hosted by Dr. Warwick Anderson and the heads of international research organizations. NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins presented. This was a three-day celebration, with awards given primarily to younger investigators and women scientists in recognition of the NHMRC’s faith in the future as it celebrates the past.

We at the NHLBI are excited to be leading some of these important global health activities, and we look forward to new initiatives and opportunities.

 
Dr. Collins at a podium
Dr. Francis Collins presents at the 75th anniversary meeting of the NHMRC in Canberra, Australia. Photo credit NHMRC.


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