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Fact Sheet on Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases

The NHLBI is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD). Composed of national health research institutions, the alliance coordinates and supports research activities that address, on a global scale, the prevention and treatment of chronic noncommunicable diseases, which account for nearly 60 percent of all deaths globally. The GACD's multicountry, multidisciplinary research focuses in particular on the needs of low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) - where 80 percent of deaths from chronic diseases occur - and on those of low-income populations of more developed countries.

The formation of the GACD brings to fruition a global commitment to increase the resources and attention to chronic noncommunicable diseases, which are causing a growing rate of illness, disability, and premature death every year. The GACD is the first collaboration of major research funding agencies to specifically address chronic noncommunicable diseases. Together, the members of the alliance represent an estimated 80 percent of all public health research funding worldwide. Member organizations are:

  • Australia's National Health Medical Research Council*
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research*
  • China's Ministry of Health in association with the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences*
  • The U.K.'s Medical Research Council *
  • The U.S.'s National Institutes of Health*, specifically its National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the Fogarty International Center (FIC), the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute of Mental Health
  • The Indian Medical Research Council*
  • The Medical Research Council of South Africa
  • The European Commission

(* indicates founding member)

Partner organizations include:

  • Pan American Health Organization, Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Department
  • World Heart Federation
  • National Institute of Medical Research, Tanzania

Partners are organizations that are strongly committed to GACD objectives and values, but do not have health research funding as their primary objective. In addition, the World Health Organization is represented on the alliance board by an official observer.

Priorities

The GACD is a public-private partnership that plans to facilitate collaborative funding activities for innovative, original research directed at the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, namely:

  • Cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke)
  • Several cancers
  • Chronic respiratory conditions
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Mental illnesses

In November 2009 at the alliance's inaugural scientific summit in New Delhi, the GACD agreed upon the following initial priority areas to:

  • Lower hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Reduce tobacco use
  • Reduce indoor pollution caused by crude cooking stoves in developing countries.

The GACD members also agreed that the research should:

  • Involve local policymakers from the outset, with a commitment to scale up successfully tested programs
  • Measure clinical outcomes - for example, a reduction in the incidence of stroke, not just a drop in the incidence of hypertension
  • Ensure that human and other resources are not diverted from local health care systems
  • Create a toolkit to be used later to scale up and replicate successfully tested programs
  • Include a training / capacity building component.

Background

  • In January 2012, Celina Gorre was selected as the first GACD Secretariat executive director.
  • In November 2011, Dr. Susan Shurin, acting director of the NHLBI, was named as the GACD chair for a two-year term.
  • In May 2011, the University College London's Institute for Global Health was selected to host the GACD Secretariat.
  • In June 2009, the GACD was officially launched at an event in Seattle. Dr. Abdallah Daar of the University of Toronto served as the first chair.

Then-NHLBI Director Elizabeth Nabel (USA) and leaders from the world's top health research agencies formed the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases on June 14, 2009. Standing, left to right: Depei Liu (China), Warwick Anderson (Australia), Abdallah Daar (University of Toronto), Stig Pramming (Oxford Health Alliance), and Leszek Borysiewicz (UK). Seated with Dr. Nabel: Alain Beaudet (Canada). (Kevin P. Casey for the Global Alliance)

Then-NHLBI Director Elizabeth Nabel (USA) and leaders from the world's top health research agencies formed the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases on June 14, 2009. Standing, left to right: Depei Liu (China), Warwick Anderson (Australia), Abdallah Daar (University of Toronto), Stig Pramming (Oxford Health Alliance), and Leszek Borysiewicz (UK). Seated with Dr. Nabel: Alain Beaudet (Canada). (Kevin P. Casey for the Global Alliance)

Grand Challenges Global Partnership

  • The GACD takes its origin in the Grand Challenges Global Partnership first announced in Nature in 2007.
  • This partnership was inspired by a study involving a Delphi panel recruited from 50 countries around the world.
  • The study identified 20 Grand Challenges in chronic noncommunicable diseases and highlighted a set of priorities to address the burden of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and certain cancers. This largely preventable, yet relatively ignored and under-resourced, group of conditions cause the greatest global share of death and disability, accounting for around 60 percent of all deaths worldwide. In low- and middle-income countries, the burden is especially significant and is projected to rapidly rise.
  • The Grand Challenges Global Partnership was designed to be a coordinating body for research-funding organizations in order to harmonize efforts among other relevant initiatives in hopes of expanding the partnership, forging collaborative research opportunities, and monitoring progress towards meeting the 20 Grand Challenges.
  • The development of the GACD has been facilitated by the Oxford Health Alliance supported by Dalberg Global Development Advisors.

Last Updated: August 27, 2012

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