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Media Contact: Holly Korschun 10 January 2007
  hkorsch@emory.edu    
  (404) 727-3990   Print  | Email ]
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Emory, Finland Partner to Build Public Health Network With $20M Gates Grant
Emory University, in partnership with Finland's National Public Health Institute, KTL (Kansanterveyslaitos), has received a five-year grant of nearly $20 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI). http://www.ianphi.org.

IANPHI is an international alliance dedicated to optimizing public health service delivery and decision-making globally by improving public health infrastructure around the world. IANPHI's goals are to strengthen and link national public health institutes (NPHIs), facilitate collaboration and collective action, and build a new international community of public health leadership focused on information sharing, networking and advocacy.

Jeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH, vice president for academic health affairs in Emory University's Woodruff Health Sciences Center and former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is IANPHI president and principal investigator for the IANPHI grant. James Hughes, MD, professor of medicine in Emory University School of Medicine and former director of the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases, is IANPHI senior advisor for infectious diseases.

"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."

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. Expertise and support from IANPHI will help fledgling organizations build basic public health infrastructure and progress toward becoming fully functioning NPHIs.

IANPHI was formally launched in January 2006 with 39 founding members and a one-year planning grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The members include the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa, the Chinese CDC, the United Kingdom's Health Protection Agency, the National Institute for Medical Research in Nigeria, the Osvaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ) in Brazil, and the National Public Health Institute of Mexico. With the five-year implementation grant from the Gates Foundation, 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.

"The five-year funding from the Gates Foundation represents a strong commitment from the world's preeminent health foundation to IANPHI and its goals of improving global health by developing leadership, increasing collaboration and community, and expanding healthcare capacity," said Michael M.E. Johns, MD, CEO of Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center, executive vice president for health affairs and chairman of Emory Healthcare. "The Gates Foundation support also distinguishes IANPHI as the inaugural program associated with Emory University's new Global Health Institute."

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 world, particularly in poor countries. More information is available at http://www.whsc.emory.edu/globalhealth.

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