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NHLBI’s Global Commitment

Discovery knows no boundaries

The NHLBI recognizes its opportunity to provide international leadership through research, training, and education to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, and blood diseases, in cooperation with United States and foreign government agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

Global collaboration is increasingly important as both communicable and noncommunicable diseases know no borders; severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) spread through the world in a matter of days, and the H1N1 influenza moved from Mexico to 41 countries in a few weeks. There is a need for the ongoing cultivation of a worldwide network of well-trained, qualified scientists to protect and educate the American public and the world’s population from the dangers of fast-moving infectious diseases. There is a growing public health need as well, to collaborate to address chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases and some cancers.

The NHLBI is building on its growing body of global work in chronic noncommunicable diseases and expanding its collaborations in research and knowledge sharing. This network of scientific collaborators is at the forefront of the changing face of global health. Together, they will design studies that capitalize on cultural differences in risk factors and health practices, which can advance discoveries in heart disease, cancer, and lung disease more efficiently.

The NHLBI’s Global Health Initiative to combat chronic diseases was established with input from world leaders in the areas of chronic cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, epidemiology, biostatistics, health services and outcomes research, clinical trials, and international health promotion and disease prevention research.

What is the Impact of Chronic Diseases?

  • Four out of five deaths from chronic diseases occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The burden of chronic diseases not only has adverse effects on the quality of life of the patients and their families, but its adverse effects on economic growth are often underappreciated.
  • In low- and middle- income countries, middle-aged adults are especially vulnerable to chronic diseases, and therefore deaths are occurring prematurely, often in people under 70 years old.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that unless urgent action is taken, of the projected 64 million people who will die in 2015, 41 million will die of chronic diseases.

Learn more about the collaboration of the NHLBI and its partners in global health: the NIH Fogarty International Center, the UnitedHealth Chronic Disease Initiative, the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, and the Oxford Health Alliance.

Last Updated: December 1, 2009

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