Posts Tagged ‘USAID’

New report reveals why investing in global health research works

Friday, April 27th, 2012

With all eyes focused on federal deficit reduction, global health programs—including research and development for vaccines, drugs and diagnostics—are in danger.  A new report, Saving lives and creating impact: why investing in global health research works, examines U.S. government funding of global health research and development (R&D) over the past decade and the results that this investment has yielded, both in the U.S. and abroad. The report is a joint effort of the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) and Policy Cures.

The U.S. government, the largest funder of global health R&D in the world, has invested $12.7 billion over the past ten years in the development of innovative health technologies, including vaccines, drugs and diagnostics, for the developing world, according to the report.  This investment has generated the largest R&D pipeline ever for new global health products.  With 365 health technologies currently in the R&D pipeline, it’s critical that the U.S. maintains that investment so that life-saving products reach the people who need them most. Plus, U.S. investment in global health is coming right back to the U.S. in the form of job creation and economic growth – around 64 cents of every dollar spent by the U.S. on global health R&D goes directly to U.S. researchers.

The evidence gathered here clearly shows that the U.S. investment in global health R&D has reaped benefits around the world, including here at home.  The report does suggest, however, three ways that the U.S. government can generate an even greater return on investment in global health R&D:

  1. Maintaining funding for global health R&D and increasing it where possible;
  2. Focusing on translational research, especially clinical development; and
  3. Increasing funding to partnering mechanisms, like product development partnerships, which are focused on the translation of global health research.

Five U.S. government agencies are involved in global health R&D: the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Agency for International Development, Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Food and Drug Administration.  A key finding of the report shows that these agencies are working together with nonprofit, academic, private and philanthropic sector partners to support the development of 200 of the 365 products in the global health R&D pipeline, which could be the next generation of life-saving health technologies.

To read a full version of the report, Saving lives and creating impact: why investing in global health research works, please click here.

GHTC and Research!America are cosponsoring an event to accompany the launch of the report today, April 27, at the Kaiser Family Foundation from 12:00pm-1:30pm.  For more information, please visit http://www.researchamerica.org/event_detail/id:139.  RSVP required.

Events at NIH to Commemorate First NIH Minority Health Promotion Day

Friday, April 13th, 2012

April is National Minority Health Month, and the National Institutes of Health is lending its name to the cause.

On Thursday, NIH and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities will host the first NIH Minority Health Promotion Day. The day-long event will be held at the NIH Clinical Center on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD.

Starting at 10 a.m., the South Lobby of the Clinical Center will showcase posters and other resources that explain various projects that are being undertaken to improve minority health.

Then, at 1 p.m., a roundtable discussion will examine the role that social determinants play in health. Brian Smedley, PhD, of the Health Policy Institute at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, will serve as moderator; panelists include Peter J. Ashley, DrPH, of the Department of Housing and Urban Development; Thomas E. Feucht, PhD, of the Department of Justice; and Shawn Malarcher of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Though the discussion coincides with NIH Minority Health Promotion Day, it is also part of a monthly lecture series at NIH titled the Health Disparities Seminar Series.

World Water Day Spotlights Need for Increased R&D

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

World Water Day, held annually on March 22, brings renewed attention to the importance of clean water to everyday life and the necessity of global water conservation, especially given the scarcity of natural freshwater resources and increasing global demand.  Even in the United States, not traditionally considered a water-scarce country, one out of every three U.S. counties is predicted to face a greater risk of water shortage by 2050.

World Water Day 2012, coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, highlights the link between water and food security.  While significant progress has been made towards increasing access to safe drinking water, much work remains.  The World Health Organization recently announced that the world has already met the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to water by 2015. However, 1 billion people worldwide–1 out of every 7 individuals–live in chronic hunger, partially due to water shortages.

The connection between hunger and water shortage may not be immediately obvious, but most of the water that people “drink” each day is actually in the food that they eat.  Food production accounts for 70% of all water use, and as the world population continues to grow, so will the demand for freshwater resources.  The world population is expected to increase by over 2 billion by 2050; if water resources cannot produce enough food to support the current population of 7 billion, how will we feed over 9 billion people with even less water in 2050?

Experts believe that the answer to this question lies in reduced food waste and increased agricultural research and development (R&D) to be able to produce more high-quality food with less water.  The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is one of the leading government agencies working to improve food security by supporting innovative agricultural research.

Access to safe drinking water could help reduce the 1.5 million deaths that occur in children every year due to diarrheal diseases.  Photo credit: Flickr photo by waterdotorg, 2011

In addition, USAID and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are supporting global health R&D efforts to address water, sanitation and hygiene challenges which cause a heavy burden of diseases in many developing countries and impede social and economic development.  One example of a highly cost-effective intervention developed by the CDC which is saving lives worldwide is the safe water system (SWS).  The SWS, which can reduce rates of diarrheal diseases by 30-50% in high-risk communities, is based on the simple technology of adding an inexpensive chlorine bleach solution to household drinking water to disinfect it before use. It also includes education on safe storage of treated water and best hygiene and sanitation practices.

While great progress has been made in increasing access to safe water, there is still more work to do, and the global community is lagging behind in efforts to improve food security, hygiene and sanitation.  Increased investment is needed in R&D that aims to find cost-effective ways to improve these basic conditions. Eighty-eight percent of deaths from diarrheal diseases worldwide can be attributed to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene – the development and usage of health technologies can prevent these diseases and save lives.

The Federal Government’s Role in Global Health R&D

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Research!America concluded its Global Health U.S. Agency Fact Sheet Series with the release of its U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) fact sheet. In addition to the USAID fact sheet, the six-part series includes fact sheets on the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DoD), the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Each fact sheet details the agency’s involvement with global health research and development and its corresponding health and economic impact here at home. As the largest funder of global health research, the United States government is working through these agencies to ensure that our nation remains the world leader in biomedical innovation. Each agency’s vital and distinct contribution to better worldwide health is also a contribution to a safer future for our children.

Below are just a few examples of how the federal government is working to improve our health and boost our economy:

  • Each research grant awarded by the NIH helps to generate 7 new jobs; each $1 million NIH invests doubles to create $2 million in new state business activity.
  • The military (through DoD) has contributed to the development of 25% of all vaccines licensed in the U.S. since 1962.
  • The CDC employs more than 11,000 people throughout the nation and invested $37.6 million in global health research in FY2010.
  • The FDA is considered the global “gold standard” for food and drug safety regulation.
  • USAID immunization programs save more than 3 million lives each year and serve as a significant overseas diplomacy tool.

Although less than a penny of each federal dollar spent on health goes toward global health research and development, the American people and economy have nonetheless reaped rich rewards from this investment.

The Success and Impact of USAID’s Global Health R&D Partnerships

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
Panelists at the event included Wendy Taylor, left; Rick King, PhD; Hugh Chang; and Emily Moore.

Panelists at the event included Wendy Taylor, left; Rick King, PhD; Hugh Chang; and Emily Moore.

Research!America hosted a briefing, “Partnerships for Global Health Success: Spotlight on USAID,” on Monday to highlight USAID’s contributions to global health R&D and demonstrate how public-private partnerships have contributed to the agency’s success. The event was also co-sponsored by the Global Health Technologies Coalition, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), PATH, Temptime Corporation and the United States Agency for International Development.

The discussion was moderated by Health Affairs editor-in-chief, Susan Dentzer – a Research!America board member – and featured panelists Hugh Chang, director of special initiatives at PATH; Rick King, PhD, vice president of vaccine design at IAVI; Emily Moore, vice president and chief commercial officer of Temptime; and Wendy Taylor, senior adviser for Innovative Finance and Public Private Partnerships at USAID.

Taylor highlighted two “game-changing innovations” in which USAID has invested and helped to bring to the developing world: auto-disable syringes to prevent the reuse of needles and vaccine vial monitors to monitor vaccine potency by monitoring vaccine temperature. The investments in science behind these developments are in line with USAID’s emphasis “on the need … [to] reboost science and technology and innovation and infuse it in everything that we’re doing at AID,” Taylor said.

King recognized the diverse mix of scientific and logistical expertise that USAID and IAVI partnerships have brought together throughout the various stages of research and development. Taylor noted that the coming together of expertise is a key aspect and benefit of partnerships, as partnerships foster an environment “where both partners bring something unique and complementary to the table, where both are able to share risks, and bring about mutual impact and outcome” while accelerating the development of solutions by having partners each bring together “a piece of the solution.” For IAVI, its partnership with USAID has positively affected its work on replicating vectors and broadly neutralizing antibody research in search of an HIV/AIDS vaccine.

Dentzer pointed out that even failures in partnership-fueled research have been beneficial in the role they’ve played in scientific progress, as they’ve helped guide or inform current research directions.

The panel also discussed the idea that partnerships are inherently valuable because of how they combine partner interests and resources to achieve a single goal. The nature of solving “difficult problems … [is that] one single organization really can’t take it on on their own … these kinds of partnerships are, I think, underappreciated,” King said. USAID funding, Chang said, has supported PATH’s work to identify and connect with partners to creatively employ developing technologies for global health advancements.

Vaccine vial monitors (VVMs), developed through a USAID-PATH-Temptime collaboration, are a prime example of how technology can be utilized through global health partnerships to improve health around the world. Initially developed for the food safety industry (under Temptime’s original name of Lifelines Technology), the technology behind VVMs was repurposed through this partnership to create an indicator that could determine a vaccine’s potency based on its temperature. With USAID financing 300 million immunizations per year, VVMs are instrumental in reducing vaccine wastage and the risk of ineffective vaccination, and thus help save money and time while ensuring that immunization efforts are effective the first time around. Temptime’s technology, with PATH’s and USAID’s knowledge and experience in delivering health technologies on a large scale to create and deploy VVMs, is proof of how private-public partnerships are working together to advance global health, said Moore.

Partnering to create VVMs is also a good example of how USAID takes a comprehensive approach to solving global health challenges. Chang highlighted the fact that USAID has invested in both the development of innovations as well as in the logistics necessary to ensure that these innovations reach their destinations and have significant health impacts there.

Domestically speaking, investments in global health partnerships are helping to drive the American economy. Temptime, located in New Jersey, is a good example of how global health R&D activity is an economic driver; its operations have resulted in economic growth and provided jobs in the state. Partnerships can also have a reverse economic benefit by saving money. In the case of VVMs, being able to monitor whether a vaccine is still efficacious can indirectly reduce costs by ensuring that potent vaccines are able to prevent the spread of disease and thus curb costs of treatment, typically costing more than $55 per year, per person, according to Moore.

Finally, global health partnerships may have a significant impact on American health by providing R&D that produces health technologies that can be applied both in the developed and developing world. King gave the examples of a searching for a “universal flu vaccine” and how research on the immune system for HIV-application could potentially be applied to cancer research later on, to suggest that domestic benefits of global health R&D go “beyond the number of jobs created – it’s about value creation.” The event was webcast live and is available for viewing here.

Spotlight on USAID Briefing on Nov. 21

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Research!America will be hosting a briefing entitled “Partnerships for Global Health Success: Spotlight on USAID” on November 21 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in The Pew Charitable Trusts Conference Center on 901 E Street NW, Washington, DC.

This event will recognize the positive impact the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has had on global health research and development (R&D). The event will also look at how its work has benefited the American economy and has proven to be a valuable investment, even in this time of economic constraint. As public-private partnerships have been key to the agency’s success, the event will also highlight how these collaborations capitalize on the strengths and expertise of both the public and private sector to accelerate the development of health technologies in efficient and cost-saving ways.

Join us for a discussion with USAID and some of its global health R&D partners on how public-private partnerships are contributing to the agency’s success in global health and its impact on the American economy and health.

Our panelists will be Hugh Chang, director of special initiatives within the Office of the President at PATH; Rick King, PhD, vice president of Vaccine Design at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI); Emily Moore, vice president and chief commercial officer of Temptime Corporation; and Wendy Taylor, senior adviser for Innovative Finance and Public Private Partnerships at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Health Affairs editor-in-chief and Research!America board member Susan Dentzer will moderate the discussion.

A light breakfast will be served prior to the panel discussion, from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m.

For free registration, please RSVP at www.researchamerica.org/event_detail/id:131.

So, Why Should YOU Care About Global Health Research and Development?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Over the past several weeks, we’ve written a considerable amount about global health R&D and the methods and partnerships that help bring better health to millions around the world.

Perhaps, while reading one of those posts, you’ve thought that the situation sounded too irrelevant, the location too remote for it to be of consequence to the average American. Quite the contrary: Global health R&D does matter to Americans. In state polling conducted by Research!America, 72% of Georgia residents think Americans should be concerned about diseases that mostly affect poorer countries; in Illinois, 75% thought so; and in New Jersey, 79% thought so.

If numbers don’t sway you, a recent blog post from the Global Health Technologies Coalition might. GHTC interviewed four people with familiar names and titles; each underscores the importance of global health to America.

Amie Batson, deputy assistant administrator and deputy to the administrator for the Global Health Initiative at USAID: “I think the world of global health and America’s ability to have an impact on it really epitomizes the best of what America is – the ‘we can make a difference’ view that Americans bring.”

Margaret Hamburg, MD, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration: “Eighty percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients in drugs that we take – the thing that really makes a difference in the drug – come from other countries. The complex global supply chains, the complex global scientific research functions and the fact that products come from all over the world and are used here in the United States means that we want to make sure that health standards and capabilities in those other countries are at the level that we would like to, frankly, see here.”

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA): “Millions of people cross international borders every day. They’re carrying diseases with them. The United States is not insulated from diseases and the rest of the world. We have to care about the rest of the world because if we don’t, those diseases will eventually wind up in our own country.”

Whoopi Goldberg, comedian and talk show host: “AIDS doesn’t care. It doesn’t care what your affiliation is – doesn’t care if you’re Republican, doesn’t care if you’re gay or straight or a little bitty baby. If it gets you, it gets you.”

Goldberg’s point served as an excellent segue; the interviews were posted the day before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. Her topic? Creating an AIDS-free generation.

“But let’s remind ourselves no institution in the world has done more than the United States Government,” she said. “We have produced a track record of excellence in science. Researchers right here at the NIH conducted pivotal research that identified HIV and proved that it did cause AIDS. The first drug to treat AIDS was supported by the United States. Today we are making major investments in the search for a vaccine; for tools like microbicides, which give women the power to protect themselves; and other lifesaving innovations.”

We pay for it, and we benefit from it, despite its far-flung sounding name. Global health research benefits us all.

Celebrating USAID’s 50 Years of Exemplifying “The Best of American Values”

Monday, November 7th, 2011

“Celebrate today, start tomorrow.”

Those were the words Vice President Joe Biden used in his address last week at USAID’s 50th anniversary commemorative event. Calling USAID and its employees “the face of America” and a collective “force of nature,” Biden urged USAID to continue its life-saving efforts around the world “so that we can work ourselves out of a job.”

Since its creation by President John F. Kennedy’s executive order 50 years ago, the agency has worked relentlessly to improve and save millions of lives across the globe. This past half century has seen great progress in international development and poverty-fighting programs, which has in large part been driven by USAID initiatives. A few notable examples include:

  1. USAID played a significant role in the eradication of smallpox, a historic feat that has served as a reminder of how coordinated and persistent efforts to combat infectious diseases are necessary to successfully address global health challenges.
  2. Oral rehydration therapy (ORT), developed through USAID programs, has been instrumental in treating tens of millions of children affected by life-threatening cases of diarrhea.
  3. USAID collaboration with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has provided antiretroviral therapy to 3.2 million people and, in FY10 alone, prevented mother-to-child HIV transmission to 114,000 newborns.
  4. More than 30 countries that once received aid have “graduated” from its assistance, and some have even become donors of aid to other struggling countries. For those countries, USAID support has been a steppingstone to self-sufficiency; a prime example is South Korea, a country that has become the US’ seventh largest trading partner in the short span of two generations and now is a net donor of aid to developing countries.

“We have proven that nations can escape the grip of poverty,” Biden said in his speech. “We no longer ask what the U.S. can do for you; rather, when I meet with these leaders, I ask, what can we do with you?”

As the premier humanitarian assistance and international development U.S. agency, USAID has led the way in demonstrating how investments in international development and its global health efforts are changing the world for the better.

Watch the recap video of the event here.

Lessons From Public-Private Partnerships Week

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Last week, the U.S. Agency for International Development celebrated Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) Week to commemorate its collaborations with the private sector over the course of the agency’s 50-year existence. To date, USAID has participated in more than 1,000 partnerships and worked with more than 3,000 local, regional and multinational partners, including Coca-Cola, Siemens, General Mills and Microsoft.

Moving forward, USAID will continue to leverage partnerships to accomplish its goals and will work specifically through the Office of Innovation and Development Alliances to create and facilitate partnerships with sustainable development goals.

“USAID is making this investment in partnerships because we believe that they can help us reach development goals quicker, cheaper and more sustainably — and because we believe they are critical to creating the conditions where foreign assistance is no longer necessary,” said Maura O’Neill, PhD, senior counselor and chief innovation officer at USAID.

Below are a few key lessons to take away from PPP Week:

  • Effective collaborations align partners’ core interests. “[These collaborations] are co-designed, co-funded (with cash, expertise and in-kind resources) and co-managed by partners so that the risks, responsibilities and rewards of the partnership are shared.” — O’Neill
  • Language and contextual framing matters. “We’ve got to … begin translating our development objectives into language that will resonate with our corporate counterparts. We call it development. Companies call it emerging markets.” — Jason Saul, CEO of Mission Measurement and author of Social Innovation, Inc: Five Strategies for Driving Business Growth Through Social Change
  • Quantifiable evaluation is needed to access impact and strategize for the future. “We need to move from measuring ‘dollars leveraged’ to ‘outcomes delivered’ — and to build a base of data which can help us identify in which instances the use of partnerships makes more sense compared to alternative approaches.” Chris Jurgens, director of global programs for Accenture Development Partnerships
  • Partnerships require flexible but focused decision-making. “The next generation of partnership builders needs … to identify models of multi-stakeholder governance which are robust enough to drive decisions but flexible enough to accommodate diverse agendas.” — Jurgens

For an interactive map of where, what, and with whom USAID has worked on over the years, click here.

Product development partnerships (PDP) are a type of PPP that capitalize on partner expertise and strengths to accelerate the development of global health technologies. To learn more about PDPs and see two examples, refer to our previous post.

Successful Global Health Milestone for Malaria

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

September 15, 2011

Today, at the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, D.C. the global health and international development communities joined together to celebrate ten successful years of collaboration between the USAID Amazon Malaria Initiative and PAHO’s Amazon Network for the Surveillance of Antimalarial Drug Resistance (AMI + RAVREDA). A panel of distinguished speakers and a keynote address both reflected on the elements of success essential to this collaboration.

The marriage between AMI and RAVEDA represents a complex network of global, national and regional actors who have in the last decade been exceptionally successful at saving lives and reducing the cases of malaria in and around the Amazon Basin. The new PAHO data reveals that between 2000 and 2009, there was a 52% reduction in malaria cases and a 69% decrease in deaths attributable to malaria in 21 countries in South America. Nine of these countries saw a reduction of malaria cases by 75%. The cohesive level of interaction and the scale of collaboration AMI+REVEDA has exhibited has been crucial to the success these numbers portray.

Edgar Barillar, MD, Senior Program Associate of the Management Sciences for Health/Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems, highlighted the importance of a broad network of partners. He said, “mosquitos disrespect boundaries” and partners are essential to effectively addressing boundary regions between countries often inundated with high numbers of malaria cases. He pointed out that the rigorous evidence-based public health practice of partners was essential to utilizing technical expertise and program components. The evidence-based practice has been an effective tool for shaping policy in these countries and has built consensus and trust among countries from regional to national levels.

Rear Admiral R. Timothy Ziemer, U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative, emphasized the importance of funding countries and the US government’s role in supporting this program. He highlighted the importance of the CDC and USAID as implementing arms to this collaboration. He reiterated the U.S. commitment to saving lives and removing malaria as a public health threat and congratulated AMI+RAVREDA for tracking impact indicators and turning U.S. investment into good value.

Susan Thoullag, Health Team Leader, LAC Bureau, USAID, said in conclusion, “AMI+RAVREDA is a great way of doing business by harmonizing scientific expertise and national country plans…and efficiently creating a sustained effort, ten years and counting.”

Partnerships for Innovation: Simple Solutions that Save Lives

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Innovations in health are key to relieving the ever-increasing burden that diseases place on health systems around the world. A Capitol Hill briefing this week, called “Partnerships for Innovation: Simple Solutions that Save Lives,” emphasized the importance of global health product development partnerships to leverage simple solutions to improve and save the lives of millions worldwide. The briefing was hosted by Research!America, BIO Ventures for Global Health, PATH and the Global Health Technologies Coalition.

One example of a simple solution with a big impact is a small sticker that changes color to let health workers know if a vaccine is safe for use after exposure to less-than-ideal temperatures. USAID, PATH and New Jersey-based TempTime Corporation partnered to create these special heat-sensitive stickers – called Vaccine Vial Monitors – that are attached to each vaccine vial at the manufacturing site. The sticker measures heat and cold exposure as the vaccine is moved from the production line to the final destination. If the vaccine ever gets to too hot or too cold and is no longer usable, the sticker changes color and the vial is discarded.

Reps. Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) sponsored the event. Sires reiterated the importance of supporting global health research and development, especially at a time when the U.S. cannot afford to let partnerships for innovation “fall by the wayside.” His remarks echoed the need for continued support in the area of simple technologies capable of bringing dramatic results such as improved health and lives saved.

GHTC Event: Advancing Global Health Through New Technologies

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
From left, Elizabeth Bukusi, PhD, The Honorable Mike Castle, Yasmin Halima, MPH, Alex Dehgan, PhD, and Kerri-Ann Jones, PhD (at podium).

From left, Elizabeth Bukusi, PhD, The Honorable Mike Castle, Yasmin Halima, MPH, Alex Dehgan, PhD, and Kerri-Ann Jones, PhD (at podium).

As a member of the Global Health Technologies Coalition, Research!America was invited to participate in a hybrid exposition/briefing event hosted by GHTC focused on the role of science, research and innovation in promoting U.S. global health and development policies worldwide.

The event, “Sparking innovation to save lives: How the U.S. can advance global health through new technologies,” was moderated by Yasmin Halima, MPH, director, Global Campaign for Microbicides. Panelists included keynote speaker Kerri-Ann Jones, PhD, assistant secretary of state for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs; Alex Dehgan, PhD, science and technology adviser at USAID; The Honorable Mike Castle, a Research!America board member; and Elizabeth Bukusi, PhD, chief research officer and deputy director of research and training at the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

All of the speakers emphasized the necessity of global health partnerships and diplomacy. Diplomacy, Jones said, means the recognition that we must work together to solve old global health problems with new technologies. “Global engagement through partnerships” is essential, Dehgan said.

“The cost of disease affects all countries. Disease doesn’t respect boundaries,” he continued.

A striking point that Dehgan made was the importance of getting treatments to people who haven’t yet been reached. One example of “connecting the unconnected,” as Deghan described it, was the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action. A partnership between the State Department, Johnson & Johnson, the UN Foundation, the mHealth Alliance and BabyCenter, MAMA (its clever acronym) uses mobile technology to deliver health information to mothers around the world.

The panelists agreed that the U.S. should leverage its power to bring research to the field. Dehgan quoted the Research!America poll finding that 94% of Americans think government, academia and private industries should work together to develop new treatments and cures.

Further, Dehgan and Bukusi discussed the moral imperative behind global health. We all have choices, Bukusi said. A Kenyan native, she said that these choices define America. Dehgan solidified Bukusi’s point in citing the Research!America poll finding that 84% of Americans recognize that global health is a moral obligation.

This moral obligation can be fulfilled right here in Washington. Castle pointed out that Members of Congress play a key role in shaping global health policies because they are responsible for deciding how federal funding should be allocated to address global health problems. It is of critical importance, Castle said, that global health advocates bring their cases to their Members of Congress, who usually respond to the lobbying focus that comes to their door: a parent with a sick child, a nonprofit organization, a student of global health. But the issue must be made interesting to Members of Congress. One way to peak their interest, Castle says, is talking about global health in terms of the jobs it creates.

If everyone works together for the global health cause, “drops of water can become a mighty ocean,” Bukusi said.

Research!America Co-Hosts a Hill Briefing on Vaccines

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Research!America, together with the Global Health Council and the ONE Campaign, hosted a Capitol Hill briefing to discuss the economic and health impact of vaccines and why investment in future vaccines is one of the most cost-effective ways to secure a healthier future globally and at in the United States.

The briefing, “Vaccines: The Best Shot For Our Health and Economy,” was moderated by Michael Gerson, a columnist at the Washington Post and a senior fellow at the ONE campaign. Panelists included Jon Andrus, MD, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization; Amie Batson, MPPM, deputy assistant administrator for global health at the U.S. Agency for International Development; Phil Hosbach, vice president of immunization policy and government relations at Sanofi Pasteur; and Col. Julia A. Lynch, MD, director of the military infectious disease research program (MIDRP) for the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research.

Andrus talked about the need to close the gap between vaccine delivery in the U.S. and vaccine delivery abroad, in places where vaccines are needed most. Hosbach discussed the vaccination program for dengue fever, an infectious disease spread by mosquitoes. He cited public/private partnerships as key components to developing and bringing an effective dengue vaccine to market.

Like Hosbach, Batson discussed the importance of partnerships, but Batson focused on private sector parternships. All health agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Food and Drug Administration, play different roles in promoting vaccination, and collaboration to further vaccine development is critical, Batson said. Lynch discussed the role of the Department of Defense in the development of vaccines. Forty percent of all vaccines developed for adults in the U.S. were developed by the U.S. Army, she said.

“Vaccines are the greatest return on investment that public health has seen,” Hosbach said.

The event was the first in a series of four vaccine-focused briefings that will take place over the next several months.  Topics of future briefings in the series include the polio vaccine, HPV and adolescent girls’ health, and the financing of vaccines.

For more information on collaboration between agencies, check out Research!America’s new agency fact sheet.

The Global Health Council and sanofi-aventis are Research!America members.

USAID Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, USAID today launched an interactive website to highlight the global impact of their work.

Under the guidance of President John F. Kennedy, USAID was created in 1961 to unite development under a single government agency. Fifty years later, USAID stays true to its mission by connecting scientists, innovators and  government to create a unified science, technology and innovation development strategy.

The 50th anniversary website contains USAID history, events and stories about the development solutions that have changed lives around the world. It also encourages users to share their own development experience.

The website uses infographics to highlight innovation at USAID. According to the first infographic, which breaks down federal foreign aid spending, the public believes 25 percent of the federal budget is spent on foreign aid. In reality, the figure is less than one percent. The largest chunk of that money is spent on economic growth. The second largest amount goes to investment in people.

Under their “Innovation Experience,” the website will also feature stories throughout the year about the heroes who, through their development solutions, have helped to bring hope to people all over the world.