Most in the ‘global know’ were dumbfounded in March when both President Trump’s “skinny” budget and the subsequent detailed one explicitly targeted the Fogarty International Center (FIC) for closure.¹
Happy news arrived earlier this month when the appropriations committee for the House of Representatives approved a bill that did not close Fogarty but in fact allocated FIC a 1.5% increase ($73.4 million total budget).² Despite its teeny, tiny budget (described by some as amounting to “less than pencil dust” in the overall NIH budget, Fogarty’s work yields serious benefits to U.S citizens and the global community alike including Fogarty’s leadership in the Brain Disorders programme which has played such a central role in the globalization of US Neurology.³ A disclosure—as an investigator funded through the Brain Disorders program and a Fogarty International Center Advisory Board member, I am seriously conflicted here. So don’t take my word for it—you can read any number of Op Eds and commentaries testifying to the critical nature of the FIC.1, 4-6 The Senate appropriations committee take this up in September. We certainly live in interesting times. Stay tuned.
- McNeil DG. Muffling an early warning system. New York Times 2017 March 21, 2017;Sect. 4.
- US House of Representatives proposal preserves Fogarty, boosts NIH by $1B. In: NIH Fogerty International Center [online]. Available at: www.fic.nih.gov/News/GlobalHealthMatters/july-august-2017/Pages/house-ap…. Accessed August 14, 2017.
- Birbeck GL, Meyer AC, Ogunniyi A. Nervous system disorders across the life course in resource-limited settings. Nature 2015;527:S167-171.
- Drain PK, Subbaraman R, Heimburger DC. Preserving the Fogarty International Center – Benefits for Americans and the World. N Engl J Med 2017;377:9-11.
- Green A. US stands to lose as much as Africa if Fogarty closes. University World News 2017 16June17.
- Karim SSA, Karim QA, Abimiku A, et al. Closing the NIH Fogarty Center threatens US and global health. Lancet 2017;390:451.