The Yale Institute for Global Health has selected three faculty groups leading programs to improve the health and well-being of the world’s population as recipients of the 2021 Hecht Global Health Faculty Network Award. The projects will each receive up to $50,000 to support present and future initiatives. This year’s recipients are focused on reducing community spread of tuberculosis through transitional care models for recently released inmates in Ukraine; global non-communicable disease capacity building in lower- and middle-income countries; and the establishment of a controlled human malaria infection platform at Yale.
A brief description of each project follows:
Reducing Community Spread of TB through transitional care models for recently released inmates in Ukraine: Sheela Shenoi, Internal Medicine, YSM, David Vlahov, YSN, Frederick Altice, Internal Medicine, YSM.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains the leading cause of infectious death globally, responsible for 10 million cases and 1.4 million deaths annually. Ukraine remains one of the highest TB burden countries with unsuccessful TB control attributed to ongoing community transmission due to highly prevalent HIV and opiate use disorder, poor prison infrastructure for managing communicable diseases, and the lack of integration across service delivery. Nearly half of all prisoners with active TB do not link to community TB treatment centers upon release, thereby presenting a risk to their communities. Yet, TB control efforts often neglect prison settings, transitional care after release, and integration with comorbid conditions. This group’s goal is to develop a transitional care model to facilitate TB treatment upon prison release, enabling successful individual outcomes and reduction of secondary transmission. “This award will permit the development of a new research direction in TB in Ukraine, and the development of new relationships that will provide critical input into local priorities and guide the development of NIH grant applications,” says Sheela Shenoi.
Global Non-communicable disease Capacity Building in Lower- and middle-income countries: Evelyn Hsieh, Rheumatology/Allergy/Immunology, YSM, Nicola Hawley, Chronic Disease Epidemiology, YSPH, Christine Ngaruiya, Emergency Medicine, YSM, Tracy Rabin, Internal Medicine, YSM, Jeremy Schwartz, Internal Medicine, YSM.
Eighty percent of the 40 million deaths each year attributable to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with the majority of these occurring prematurely. Despite the growing global burden of NCDs, many LMICs lack the capacity to generate high-quality country-specific data as a foundation for solutions. While the reasons for this are multifactorial, important barriers exist to build much-needed NCD research capacity in LMICs, including inadequate research funding, lack of infrastructure and institutional support, and lack of mentors for early-career scholars. The Yale Network for Global Non-Communicable Disease (NGN) focuses on solidifying and strengthening LMIC partnerships with a particular focus on identifying opportunities for capacity building and crystallizing the vision for NGN’s impact as a network. "NGN’s early activities focused on building collaborations among members and one of our core sites, Uganda, and fostering dialogue regarding global NCDs across campus and outside of Yale. To reach our goal of positioning Yale as a leading institution for NCD research and training, we continue to expand our local faculty network, solidify and strengthen our LMIC partnerships with a particular focus on identifying NCD research capacity building and training needs across all our core sites. The Hecht award provides us with the critical and timely support necessary to realize this goal," says Evelyn Hsieh.
Establishment of a Controlled Human Malaria Infection Platform at Yale: Joseph Vinetz, Infectious Disease, YSM, Amy Bei, Epidemiology, YSPH, Sunil Parikh, Epidemiology, YSPH, LaRon Nelson, Global Affairs & Planetary Health, YSN, Mahalia Desruisseaux, Infectious Disease, YSM, Choukri Ben Mamoun, Epidemiology, YSM, Anne Spichler-Moffarah, Infectious Disease, YSM, Erol Fikrig, Infectious Disease, YSM.
Malaria is a major global health concern with the annual numbers of cases and deaths remaining high despite significant efforts to eradicate the disease. The MalarYale faculty network hopes to establish the complex infrastructure to bring new treatments and vaccines towards the global goal of malaria elimination and eradication. The team seeks to establish a center for controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) to contribute towards malaria elimination and global eradication. The project will provide experience for academic partners and trainees in all aspects of global health-oriented clinical research. Trainees at Yale and at institutional partner sites will be centrally involved in all aspects of these tasks to further our joint mission of global health improvement through education, training, and service. “This project aims to enable Yale and its faculty to demonstrate institutional commitment to CHMI infrastructure, and to enable the creation and strengthening of academic collaboration within Yale, within New Haven, and at African and South American partner sites,” says Joseph Vinetz.
Established in 2015, the Hecht Global Health Faculty Network Award was created to provide financial support and encouragement for research and educational projects for global health faculty at Yale. Projects funded by Hecht have seen exponential results with new partnerships, subsequent funding, recognition through honors and other awards, and sustainable programs. Since 2015, twenty-four awards have been made to faculty advancing global health at Yale.