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Media Contact: Holly Korschun 10 January 2007
  hkorsch@emory.edu    
  (404) 727-3990   Print  | Email ]
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Emory University Announces New Global Health Institute
Emory University announced today a new Global Health Institute that will help address the most pressing health challenges around the world, particularly in poorer nations. Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH, Emory vice president for academic health affairs and former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will direct the new Institute, which builds on Emory's history of global health partnerships.

Emory's initial budget for the new Global Health Institute is $110 million, based on currently identified resources, including $55 million from the University's strategic plan and building funds and $55 million in investment from other sources including Emory schools and departments, foundations, and private and governmental partners. The Institute also will continue to seek additional outside investment for its support and expansion. The funds will support new global health faculty, programs and partnerships.

"The new Global Health Institute, as part of Emory's strategic plan, will help us carry out our vision and commitment to positive transformation in the world," said Emory President James Wagner. "The Institute will bring together and extend the impact of Emory's strong public health work locally and around the world."

"By making this considerable investment in global health, Emory University will broaden and deepen its capacity in fields as varied as infectious diseases, chronic diseases, vaccine and drug discovery, leadership development, health economics, and workforce development," said Michael M.E. Johns, MD, Emory executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

The Global Health Institute will enhance Emory's existing strengths in global health, with the specific intention of creating and enhancing partnerships with governments and academic and private institutions in the most needy parts of the world. The Institute also builds on Emory's successful global health partnerships with neighboring institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CARE, the Task Force for Child Survival and The Carter Center.

Programs identified for immediate support through the new Institute include:

- The Republic of South Africa Drug Discovery Training Program, dedicated to developing skills in young African scientists in the discovery of new therapeutic drugs. The program will be led by Emory chemist Dennis Liotta, co-inventor of several of the world's most successful and commonly used anti-HIV/AIDS drugs.

- A vaccine discovery partnership with the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in New Delhi, India will be led by Rafi Ahmed, director of the Emory Vaccine Center and one of the world's experts in immune memory and vaccine development.

- A program led by Reynaldo Martorell, Woodruff Professor and Chair, Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, to expand the current collaborative relationship between Emory University and the Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica (INSP) of Mexico. The expanded partnership will result in long-term sustainable strategies for research, capacity building, training, and student exchange that will improve global health.

The inaugural program associated with Emory's Global Health Institute is the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), an alliance of CDC-like institutions dedicated to optimizing global public health by improving public health infrastructure around the world. IANPHI is supported by a five-year, $20 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Emory University, in partnership with Finland's National Public Health Institute, KTL (Kansanterveyslaitos). The grant is effective Jan. 1, 2007.

Dr. Koplan is IANPHI president and principal investigator for the IANPHI grant. James Hughes, MD, professor of medicine in Emory University School of Medicine and former director of the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases, is IANPHI senior advisor for infectious diseases. Courtenay Dusenbury is director of the IANPHI Sub-Secretariat at Emory University.

Under Dr. Koplan's direction, the Emory Global Health Institute will provide direction and support for Emory faculty and their global partners who use innovative approaches to address serious global health issues; identify opportunities for faculty growth and support the hiring of world-class scholars; convene seminars and conferences to develop global health leaders; and expand opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students committed to helping solve problems in global health.

"Emory's schools of medicine, public health, and nursing already have created many successful global health partnerships," Koplan said. "Now, through Emory's new vision and strategic plan, we have a tremendous opportunity, as well as an obligation, to involve the entire University in building collaborations that will benefit other nations as well as our own. We expect our faculty and students to get back a great deal more than we give."

Other high-priority programs for the Global Health Institute will focus on public health research and training in developing nations, healthcare workforce shortages, international bioethics, and the health impact of global migration. A new undergraduate minor in Global Health, Culture and Society is available through Emory College. More information about specific programs and partnerships in the Global Health Institute is available at http://www.whsc.emory.edu/globalhealth.

Emory's current partnerships in global health include extensive HIV/AIDS work in Rwanda and Zambia; nurse training in Ethiopia, the Caribbean, Kenya, India, Bangladesh and Russia; diabetes efforts in India; nutrition research in Central America and Eastern Europe; improvements in emergency room services in the Republic of Georgia, and infectious disease research in South Africa.

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