UCSF Launches Women's Global Health Scholars Program

September 19, 2006
News Office: Jeff Sheehy (415) 502-6397

UCSF's Women's Global Health Imperative welcomes this week 28 women scientists from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and South America for the start of a yearlong leadership-training program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health's Fogarty International Center.

The program, known as the Womens' Global Health Scholars Program, is directed by Nancy Padian, director of UCSF's Women's Global Health Imperative.

"Given women's greater social, cultural, economic and biological vulnerability to disease in many countries, assisting a new generation of women scientists in the acquisition of leadership skills is an absolutely crucial component in improving global health," said Padian.

Over the course of the program, barriers to advancement for women scientists will be identified and strategies to overcome them will be devised, thus assuring continued professional development by the scholars. Academic skills will be strengthened, with a focus on asking relevant research questions, developing competitive grant proposals, managing research projects, and publishing results in peer reviewed journals.

The scholars will be paired with mentors based at their home institutions. After attending a week-long course at UCSF, half of the participants will return to their ongoing Fogarty training programs at other U.S. institutions and the other half will return to ongoing Fogarty sponsored programs in their home countries.

Over the course of the year, the scholars will take part in monthly on-line seminars and meetings led by experts from UCSF, UC Berkeley, other Fogarty sites and other academic institutions. At the end, they will return to UCSF for a final week-long course.

"In sponsoring this unique program, we at the Fogarty International Center believe it will help prepare women scientists from many regions of the developing world to assume leadership roles as researchers in health. We are encouraged that this innovative initiative will evolve into a productive program that other institutions can replicate worldwide," said Dr. Roger I. Glass, director of the Fogarty International Center and associate director for International Research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

The women global health scholars, selected from a competitive pool, come from a range of disciplines, including HIV/AIDS, epidemiology, infectious diseases and health policy and the countries represented include Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe, China, India, Vietnam, Turkey, Georgia, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, and Peru.

"We believe that an important intangible feature of the program is the opportunity for women scholars from around the world to network together. Our hope is that a cadre of women scientists working together in global health across disciplines and across continents emerges," said Padian, who is also associate director for research at UCSF's Global Health Sciences and international programs director at UCSF's AIDS Research Institute.

The UCSF Women's Global Health Imperative (WGHI), provides scientific leadership to help women and girls across the globe protect themselves from HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies, and promote safe motherhood.

UCSF's WGHI is a component of the AIDS Research Institute (ARI),

UCSF is a leading university that consistently defines health care worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the health professions and life sciences, and providing complex patient care.

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