Friends of Global Health Development Awards announce first recipients 

The Friends of Global Health are individuals engaged with the University of Illinois College of Medicine Center for Global Health. With backgrounds in the public and private sectors, they participate in strategic planning at the Center for Global Health and support projects and programs within the Center. Their mission is to advocate for initiatives increasing equity, health care capacity, and access to care globally and support the planning and implementation of projects addressing the health care needs of people in low- and middle-income countries.  

Dr. Damiano Rondelli visits with a young patient.

Dr. Damiano Rondelli visits with a young patient. Rondelli is the associate director for global partnerships in the College of Medicine Center for Global Health.

One of the first initiatives of the Friends of Global Health is an award focusing on supporting the professional development of clinicians, researchers, and advocates from low- and middle-income countries with the goal to create “Global Health Change Makers.” In collaboration with the Center for Global Health, they have granted five professional development awards to researchers from India, Nigeria, Bolivia and Ethiopia. 

This is the first year the Friends have awarded $2,000 to recipients for this awardDue to the pandemic and ongoing travel restrictions, this will be a remote/virtual professional development opportunity for three months of training in an area of clinical or research expertise. Awardees will be paired with a mentor at the UIC College of Medicine who will design a short curriculum for them. Additionally, the awardees and their mentors will have the opportunity to collaborate on a manuscript or research project design, depending on what the applicant proposed. Research collaboration based on those projects will allow the awardees to apply as principal investigators for funding from an agency in their country. 

The following are this year’s recipients: 

  • Dr. Virupaksha Harave, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at M.S. Ramaiah Medical College, India, will investigate using digital platforms to provide mental health services.
  • Dr. Chandrika Rao, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at M.S. Ramaiah Medical College, India, will implement a multicomponent adolescent school health program that aims to prevent both substance abuse and child abuse. 
  • Dr. Sunday Peter Ogundeji, a lecturer and clinician in the Department of Haematology at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, will conduct a multicenter study to document the survival outcomes in patients with hematological malignancies.  
  • Dr. Mireya Carrasco Tapia, a physician at the Bolivian Institute of Oncohematology, La Paz, Bolivia, will investigate the development and implementation of a specialized unit for bone marrow transplantation. 
  • Getnet Tesfaw, a lecturer in the Department of Laboratory Sciences and Pathology at Jimma University, Ethiopiaand a Ph.D. student at Copenhagen University, Denmark, will receive mentorship in research and grant development and will complete online training in bioinformatics analysis of genomic data.  

Tesfaw said he will use the opportunity to strengthen the already established collaboration between his institution and UIC.  

“I will leverage the skills that I will gain to address the societal health problems in my country, Tesfaw wrote in his application. 

Rao stated she will benefit from collaboration with adolescent health experts at UIC to help her achieve her project’s vision. 

“I see this as beneficial to upgrading medical services to adolescents at my hospital so it can become a pioneer institute in India,” Rao wrote in her application.    

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