Posted on March 16, 2017
"One of the National Institutes of Health’s only programs devoted to global health research and training is on the chopping block as part of President Trump’s vision for an overhaul of some government agencies.
The administration’s budget blueprint, released Thursday, lays out sweeping cuts, including the elimination of the NIH’s Fogarty International Center. Public health experts say the closure of the center, if approved by Congress, could hamper future responses to the spread of infectious diseases and slow research that could help Americans.
Since the late 1960s, Fogarty has worked to bring together thousands of “the best scientific minds around the world to address critical global health research problems” including HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and other viral diseases. The center has a budget of $69.1 million — a fraction of the $6 billion in proposed NIH cuts — that today funds 400 research and training projects that involve more than 100 US universities.
Through these efforts, US scientists gain experience in developing countries and, in turn, help train foreign scientists based in developing countries.
'Taxpayers are reaping such benefits for a ridiculously small amount of money,' Peter Jay Hotez, dean of Baylor University’s National School of Tropical Medicine and a former Fogarty advisory board member, told STAT.
In its budget proposal, the administration said the elimination of the center was part of a larger NIH reorganization that would 'help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities.'
But Chris Beyrer, a public health professor at Johns Hopkins, said the plan to cut Fogarty is 'extraordinarily foolish,' considering how it has bolstered the global fight against HIV/AIDS."