Yale Receives $15 Million for Health Education Collaboration for Liberia

By Rosalind D’Eugenio| Yale School of Medicine |

Dr. Marie Martin, Dr. Kristina Talbert-Slagle, and Dr. Bernice Dahn

Yale University has received a $15 million, five-year U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) award to advance research utilization in Liberia’s health sector. This award will fund the continuation of Yale’s strong partnership with the University of Liberia and Vanderbilt University.

The funded project, Applying Research for a Healthy Liberia, will establish a Center for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation at the University of Liberia College of Health Sciences (ULCHS), while also strengthening and expanding administrative and financial management processes so ULCHS can independently compete for and directly manage its own grant funding.

Kristina Talbert-Slagle, assistant professor, Yale School of Medicine, and principal investigator of the award, said the project is the culmination of many years of collaborative efforts with the Liberian Ministry of Health and University of Liberia.

“We have built a mutually trusting partnership focused on fulfilling the vision and goals of our partners in Liberia, and we are excited to continue working together to establish permanent academic programs and robust administrative systems at ULCHS with this award,” explains Talbert-Slagle, associate director, Yale Institute for Global Health.

More than half of the funding will go directly to ULCHS, with the U.S. teams providing technical and administrative expertise and support.

“With this approach, we can meet our collective goals of establishing permanent educational programs at ULCHS to enable current and future Liberian health workers, educators, and innovators to utilize research in their careers, with long-term positive impact on Liberia’s health sector,” adds Talbert-Slagle.

The project will be implemented by a collaborative team from Yale University, University of Liberia College of Health Sciences, Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, iLab Liberia, and the Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology (CIMIT) with engagement from the Liberian College of Physicians and Surgeons and Liberia’s Ministry of Health.

ULCHS is the flagship public higher education institution responsible for training Liberia’s clinicians, researchers, health policymakers, and innovators. Led by Dr. Bernice Dahn, who spearheaded work to establish a resilient health system and fit-for-purpose health workforce during her tenures as Deputy Minister and Minister of Health of Liberia, ULCHS is poised to become a globally recognized leader in research utilization, meaningfully connecting academics with policymaking, innovation, and clinical practice.

“Many donor-funded projects implement programming without building systems to install long-term institutional knowledge or capacity for independent initiatives within the host country institutions,” said Dr. Dahn, the Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Liberia. “We have designed this project with systems-building and institutional sustainability at its core, and we are looking forward to the results.”

“This project highlights the importance of collaboration among universities and across the world to create capacity to achieve equitable and sustainable health care systems for all populations,” said Nancy J. Brown, MD, Jean and David W. Wallace Dean of Medicine at Yale and a member of the Yale Institute for Global Health Leadership Advisory Committee.

Funding for this award is part of the Higher Education Solutions Network at USAID focused on strengthening local scientific and research capacity at higher education institutions in USAID partner countries. By fostering partnerships between U.S. and partner country higher education institutions, USAID seeks to ensure mutual idea sharing and to build individual and institutional capacity for development-relevant research and innovation around the world.

“The Yale Institute for Global Health was established to support engagement with global partners to launch projects that will have a significant impact and improve the health of individuals and populations around the world. This USAID award is an invaluable opportunity to create these necessary partnerships,” said Michael Skonieczny, deputy director, Yale Institute for Global Health.

For more information on recent investment by USAID in research and innovation programs in Liberia and Guatemala, visit: https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/press-releases/jul-20-2021-usaid-announces-30-million-research-and-innovation-centers

Submitted by Alyssa Cruz on July 23, 2021

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