Global public health network funded by $20 Million Gates Foundation grant

18 January 2006

Atlanta, USA. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a five-year grant of nearly $20 million to Emory University and  Finland's National Public Health Institute, KTL (Kansanterveyslaitos) to support the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI).

IANPHI is an international alliance dedicated to optimizing public health service delivery and decision-making globally by improving public health infrastructure around the world.

The cornerstone of the IANPHI approach is a peer-assistance model for strengthening and enhancing national public health institutes, with an emphasis on low-resource countries without a national public health focus or with NPHIs in their early stages of development.

IANPHI was formally launched in January 2006 with 39 founding members and a one-year planning grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. With the five-year grant, the members will continue to expand the association and implement their shared vision of an integrated global network of strong and capable NPHIs taking action to address critical public health challenges.

Jeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH, vice president for academic health affairs in Emory University's Woodruff Health Sciences Center and former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is IANPHI president and principal investigator for the IANPHI grant.

"In our increasingly interconnected society, the public health issues of one country can quickly affect the entire world," explains Dr. Koplan. "A global perspective is important not only in thinking about public health problems, but also in developing and disseminating public health solutions. The Gates Foundation grant will provide concrete tools for improving public health infrastructure and capacity internationally and establishing a global community for public health leadership and advocacy."

IANPHI co-investigators are Pekka Puska, MD, PhD, director general of KTL and IANPHI vice-president, and Pekka Jousilahti, MD, PhD, KTL research professor and IANPHI secretary-general.

Emory's Global Health Institute, directed by Dr. Koplan, is a University-wide initiative recently established to develop innovative research, training and programs to address the most pressing health challenges around the world, particularly in poor countries.

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