We’re reading about the Fogarty Center, after the Trump budget outline targets the half-century-old NIH international research arm for elimination

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Profile: NIH’s Fogarty International Center – A couple of years ago, this article in The Lancet described the widening scope and increasing impact of the U.S. National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center, since it began to support medical training and research in 1968. “This concept of investing in training outstanding young investigators, both U.S. and foreign, and engaging them in global health research early in their careers” center director Roger I. Glass is quoted observing, in the article, “has been a winning strategy.” After all, he also notes, “global health and local health are becoming one and the same and research anywhere can help research everywhere.” The article was written as the center, which, with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief had four years earlier launched the Medical Education Partnership Initiative to train health workers, and make PEPFAR’s progress sustainable, was turning increasing attention to the chronic, noncommunicable diseases becoming more common in resource limited countries as life expectancies lengthened. The idea remained the same — to find answers to infectious and chronic diseases that affect life in the U.S. and abroad, through collaborative research.

Trump proposes shuttering NIH program that promotes medical research overseas – This STAT article, written the day of the Trump “America First” budget outline release, quotes a series of researchers responding to the plan’s explicit proposal to eliminate the Fogarty center. They note that with a budget of less than $70 million funding projects at more than 100 U.S. universities, giving opportunities for American scientists to gain global experience, and improving infectious disease control abroad, the center is providing American taxpayers with lasting and bountiful returns on a very small investment.

Global Health Matters, Jan-Feb 2017 – From an interview with Partners in Health cofounder Dr. Paul Farmer, in which the global health equity promoter connects the dots between quality research and quality care, to a description of ongoing support for injury and trauma prevention research, to a physician’s account of the center’s impact on her career and on advancing tuberculosis research, the Fogarty January-February newsletter gives a glimpse of the center’s current priorities and accomplishments. And, on page 10, citing Kaiser Family Foundation findings that seven in 10 Americans surveyed feel the U.S. should be involved in global health improvement efforts, center director Roger Glass tells why he is optimistic about the work ahead.

Scientists Bristle at Trump Budget’s Cuts to Research – Only a handful of programs were explicitly named as ones that would be ended under the Trump “Make America Great Again Budget Blueprint,” and this article puts the proposal to close the Fogarty Center in context. Also up for elimination, and considered “a waste of your money” according to Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney are climate science programs throughout the federal government.

Trump Plan Eliminates a Global Sentinel Against Disease, Experts Warn – This one is the latest, and reiterates some of the points, via some of the same people as articles published earlier. But between the low cost of the Fogarty center’s work and the value it returns, you’d think you wouldn’t have to be make the points above even once. The headline and lead are the best, pointing out that international, collaborative medical research can be a first line of defense against public health threats at home. It also succinctly sums up a possible motivation for one of the few specific eliminations in the Trump budget outline, even as it would “make America vulnerable again.”

What’s the skinny on President Trump’s skinny budget? All bark, no bite – This blog from the Union of Concerned Scientists breaks down the budget-making process, reminds readers that the Trump “America First” outline is just one part of it, and maps out the places where its proposals could reach a dead end.

Cutting Foreign Aid Makes America Less Safe – Finally, some thoughts from Bill Gates, on why investing in global health is an investment in America.

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