May 03, 2018
I had the pleasure of attending the 50th anniversary celebration for the Fogarty International Center (FIC) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, earlier this week. The meeting was held to commemorate the institute’s 50 years of global health research and training programs, to review accomplishments and lessons learned, and to consider future directions and goals.
The daylong symposium, “Fogarty at 50: What are the new frontiers in global health research?” was a special treat for me. My husband, Roger Glass, has spent much of his career as an advocate for global health research and training and has been the director of Fogarty for the past 12 years (the longest serving FIC director to date).
Dr. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, was the keynote speaker, followed by panel discussions on how to advance global health priorities. NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins, a wonderful advocate for the work of the Fogarty Center, discussed how NIH Institutes and Centers can collectively sustain and advance the global health research agenda. A series of distinguished panelists presented case studies and led conversations to explore important questions, including what is needed to advance infectious disease research and achieve the end of HIV/ AIDS; how existing platforms can be leveraged to address non-communicable diseases; and what can be done to advance the global brain disorders agenda. Finally, senior investigators and their trainees discussed the long-term impact of the multi-generational capacity building Fogarty supports.
The Fogarty International Center was named to honor John Fogarty, congressman from Rhode Island who served in Congress from 1941 until his death in 1967. Congressman Fogarty served on the powerful Appropriations Committee, and for 16 years he chaired the subcommittee that provided funds for the Departments of Labor, Health, Education and Welfare. He was a champion for “better health for the nation” and supported substantial increases in funding for the NIH, leading to the creation or expansion of several important programs at NIH. Together with Senator J. Lister Hill, he sponsored the Hill-Fogarty “Health for Peace” Bill, which expanded opportunities to support research and training overseas that would improve the health of Americans. For many years, Congressman Fogarty argued for the creation of an institute to promote research in global health. He wrote, “I visualize this center . . . as representing the visible and tangible embodiment of this nation’s devotion to the use of science for peaceful purposes and the good of mankind.” The Fogarty International Center, created upon Congressman Fogarty’s death, serves as an enduring legacy to his visionary support for research and research training throughout the world.
Jack Reed, the senior senator from Rhode Island, spoke about John Fogarty, emphasizing his decency, his kindness, his optimism, and his big vision—a vision that went far beyond Rhode Island to encompass health for the whole world. It was wonderful to spend time with Congressman Fogarty’s daughter, Mary Fogarty McAndrew, and her husband Tom McAndrew—passionate advocates for science and medicine and for the Fogarty International Center.
The day was a wonderful reminder of the lessons learned from the last 50 years of NIH-sponsored global health research and research training. The talks underscored that discovery knows no borders, the impact of Fogarty’s commitment to research capacity building at home and abroad, that progress in global health has important implications for the health and well-being of Americans, and the importance of a commitment to health equity—in the United States as well as abroad.
“Fogarty at 50: What are the new frontiers in global health research?”
Agenda and speaker bios
Fogarty@50: Advancing science for global health since 1968 (book)
Quotes by and about Fogarty