Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine is one of four institutions to receive new or ongoing support from the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health—which is awarding a total of $5.3 million over the next five years in training grants to develop research bioethics expertise in low-and-middle-income countries in the Americas, the Middle East, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa.
The Fogarty International Center is dedicated to supporting and facilitating global health research conducted by U.S. and international investigators, building partnerships between health research institutions in the U.S. and abroad, and training the next generation of scientists to address global health needs.
The renewal grant that Geisel is receiving will allow it continue working with Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to further strengthen existing expertise in research bioethics among research scientists, faculty, health care providers and other professionals throughout Tanzania and the entire east sub-Saharan Africa region. Building local capacity to address ethical issues that arise with studies involving human subjects will be vital, as clinical research is growing at a rapid pace in the region.
“I think this award is an acknowledgment of the quality of work that we did in the first five years and the successes that we had,” says Richard Waddell, DSc, MSc, principle investigator (PI) on the project and an associate professor of medicine at Geisel, noting that the grant application process was highly competitive. “We met all of our primary objectives and built a strong foundation for continuing our efforts.”
During the initial five-year phase, Waddell and his colleagues at Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania established in-country training and certificate programs in bioethics and worked with colleagues at MUHAS to develop a curriculum for a new master’s degree program.
“We recruited five fellows from Tanzania to go to Penn to get their Masters in Bioethics (MBE), and that involved also hosting a graduate course at the Ethics Institute here at Dartmouth,” says Waddell. “After they graduated, the fellows worked with us to revamp the program to meet Tanzanian ethical issues and cultural mores, and we successfully moved the MBE program from Penn to Muhimbili.”
Specific aims for the project over the next five years are: to solidify and expand the Tanzania training infrastructure for the MBE degree program; enhance faculty excellence and development and build bioethics capacity; and develop an Institute of Bioethics at MUHAS as a Center of Excellence.
“We started with training primarily at Muhimbili, in the capital city of Dar es Salaam, and now for this second phase we’re going to broaden that scope so that we’re recruiting fellows from anywhere in the country who want to do graduate training in bioethics,” Waddell says.
“Our long-term goals are to develop a critical mass of individuals in Tanzania with graduate-level training in bioethics who can be at the forefront of leadership in the field, and who will eventually become the PIs and take ownership of these vitally important programs,” he says.