The Yale School of Public Health will continue preparing the next generation of infectious disease researchers in Colombia and other Latin America countries with the renewal of a federal training grant. Fogarty’s Global Infectious Disease Research Training (GID) program announced the $1.14 million award in May that will allow professor, Dr. Diane McMahon-Pratt and colleagues to continue training and building in-country scientific expertise over the next five years.
“This program has been important for creating a pipeline for career development for research in infectious diseases with the mentoring and training of Colombian scientists at various levels,” said Dr. McMahon-Pratt, who started the training program in Colombia in 2003 with Fogarty funds. “The program has linked universities and institutions within Latin America together, in a dynamic learning environment. The program is specifically focused on addressing critical gaps in infectious disease research capacity and community-based diagnosis, surveillance, and management of diseases relevant to Colombia and Latin America.”
The ongoing training focuses on leishmaniasis, a debilitating and potentially disfiguring disease that is transmitted by the bite of certain sand flies. The Yale-led collaboration seeks to translate scientific findings into public health interventions or products that reduce the incidence of the disease.
Leishmaniasis is endemic throughout much of Latin America and many other parts of the world and exacts a heavy toll, particularly on poorer segments of the population. The cutaneous form of the disease is believed to affect as many as 1.2 million people annually, while visceral leishmaniasis afflicts as many as 400,000. The program pairs students in Colombia and other countries with Yale experts through approaches such as Web-based courses, real-time conferencing of lectures, mentorship, research collaboration, and faculty and student exchanges.