• View in gallery

    Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows research areas by start year.

  • View in gallery

    Word cloud of research project titles in the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Program. To be included, words must have occurred a minimum of 15 times.

  • 1.

    Heimburger DC, Lem C, Gardner P, Primack A, Warner TL, Vermund SH, 2011. Nurturing the global workforce in clinical research: the NIH Fogarty International Clinical Scholars and Fellows Program. Am J Trop Med Hyg 85: 971978.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Shah SK, Nodell B, Montano SM, Behrens C, Zunt JR, 2011. Clinical research and global health: mentoring the next generation of health care students. Glob Public Health 6: 234246.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    McElmurry BJ, Misner SJ, Buseh AG, 2003. Minority International Research Training Program: global collaboration in nursing research. J Prof Nurs 19: 2231.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Freedman DO, Gotuzzo E, Seas C, Legua P, Plier DA, Vermund SH, Casebeer LL, 2002. Educational programs to enhance medical expertise in tropical diseases: the Gorgas Course experience 1996–2001. Am J Trop Med Hyg 66: 526532.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Drain PK, Holmes KK, Skeff KM, Hall TL, Gardner P, 2009. Global health training and international clinical rotations during residency: current status, needs, and opportunities. Acad Med 84: 320325.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Heimburger DC, Warner TL, Carothers CL, Blevins M, Thomas Y, Gardner P, Primack A, Vermund SH, 2013. Recruiting trainees for a global health research workforce: the NIH Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars Program selection process. Am J Trop Med Hyg 89: 281287.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Heimburger DC, Warner TL, Carothers CL, Blevins M, Thomas Y, Gardner P, Primack A, Vermund SH, 2014. Recruiting postdoctoral fellows into global health research: selecting NIH Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellows. Am J Trop Med Hyg 91: 219224.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Carothers CL, Heimburger DC, Schlachter S, Gardner P, Primack A, Warner TL, Vermund SH, 2014. Training programs within global networks: lessons learned in the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Program. Am J Trop Med Hyg 90: 173179.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Bearnot B, Coria A, Barnett BS, Clark EH, Gartland MG, Jaganath D, Mendenhall E, Seu L, Worjoloh AG, Carothers CL, Vermund SH, Heimburger DC, 2014. Global health research in narrative: a qualitative look at the FICRS-F experience. Am J Trop Med Hyg 91: 863868.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Heimburger DC, Carothers CL, Blevins M, Warner TL, Vermund SH, 2015. Impact of Intensive Global Health Research Training on Career Trajectories: the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Program. Am J Trop Med Hyg 93: 655661.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Vermund SH, Narayan KM, Glass RI, 2014. Chronic diseases in HIV survivors. Sci Transl Med 6: 241ed14.

  • 13.

    Jaacks LM, Ali MK, Bartlett J, Bloomfield GS, Checkley W, Gaziano TA, Heimburger DC, Kishore SP, Kohler RK, Lipska KJ, Manders O, Ngaruiya C, Peck R, Burroughs Pena M, Watkins D, Siegel KR, Narayan KM, 2015. Global non-communicable disease research: opportunities and challenges. Ann Intern Med 163: 712714.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Kasper J, Bajunirwe F, 2012. Brain drain in sub-Saharan Africa: contributing factors, potential remedies and the role of academic medical centres. Arch Dis Child 97: 973979.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    Tankwanchi AB, Ozden C, Vermund SH, 2013. Physician emigration from sub-Saharan Africa to the United States: analysis of the 2011 AMA Physician Masterfile. PLoS Med 10: e1001513. Erratum in: PLoS Med10: 24068894.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Tankwanchi AB, Vermund SH, Perkins DD, 2015. Monitoring Sub-Saharan African physician migration and recruitment post-adoption of the WHO Code of Practice: temporal and geographic patterns in the United States. PLoS One 10: e0124734.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impact of Global Health Research Training on Scholarly Productivity: The Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Program

View More View Less
  • Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee; Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee; Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee; Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Support Center at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia; Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Global Oncology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington

In the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows (FICRS-F) Program, 536 U.S. and international doctoral and postdoctoral health profession students and trainees completed 1-year research training at research centers in low- and middle-income countries. To evaluate the Program's impact, we analyzed data gathered prospectively during the Program, from PubMed, and from a representative survey of alumni. Of 100 randomly selected respondents, 94 returned the survey. Reflecting the sources of funding, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome was the focus of 47% of the projects, but research in noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and dual infection/NCD-related topics increased over time. Among the first 1,617 alumni publications, output was associated positively with being an international versus U.S. trainee, a postdoctoral Fellow versus predoctoral Scholar, and accumulation of more years post-training (all P < 0.001). Fellows were first author on a higher proportion of their articles than were Scholars (P < 0.001), and U.S. trainees were more often first author than international trainees (P = 0.04). Survey respondents had submitted 117 grant applications, and 79 (67.5%) had been funded. The FICRS-F Program yielded substantial research productivity in the early post-training years. Research outputs and impact will increase over time as alumni careers mature and they gain research independence and assume leadership positions.

Introduction

Interest in experiences and training in global health has increased substantially in recent years among students of medical, public health, and other health professions schools in the United States.1 Structured training experiences in research, clinical care, and public health in resource-limited settings launched during this period have now matured.25 From 2004 to 2012, the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Program (FICRS-F, www.fogartyscholars.org) provided 1-year research training opportunities for U.S. and international doctoral and postdoctoral health professions students and trainees at research centers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Program was funded by the Fogarty International Center (FIC) and 15 other institutes, centers, and offices of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). From 2007 to 2012, the Program was administered by the FICRS Support Center at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health through an R24 grant from the FIC. U.S. predoctoral Scholars and U.S. and international postdoctoral Fellows were selected through competitive centralized processes managed by the Support Center, and international Scholars (“twins”) were selected by the international research sites to work alongside the selected U.S. Scholars.6,7 From 2004 to 2007, the Program was limited to predoctoral Scholars from the United States and their international counterparts; beginning in 2008, the Program was expanded to include postdoctoral Fellows from the United States and LMICs.

The FICRS-F Program's goals were to foster the next generation of global health–focused clinical investigators and to help build global health research partnerships between United States and international investigators and institutions. Trainees gained hands-on experience at research centers funded by the NIH in LMICs in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and eastern Europe.1 To support local institutions in their efforts to mentor research trainees entirely in the international sites, the Program provided both training and capacity building for research in the foreign sites. In 2012, FIC decentralized the Program among 20 institutions in five consortia (Global Health Program for Fellows and Scholars).8 In prior publications, we have documented the FICRS-F Program's structure, participating NIH institutes and centers, research training sites, countries, and affiliated U.S. institutions, and the trainees' demographics and regions and countries of origin1; the Program's methods of recruitment and selection of doctoral Scholars6 and postdoctoral Fellows,7 including factors associated with success in enrolling in the Program; lessons learned from management and administration of the Program9; narrative reflections of Program alumni10; and impacts of the Program on the career trajectories of alumni.11

To evaluate and document the Program's global research impact, we analyzed multiple variables of interest from data gathered prospectively during the Program. A survey of alumni conducted after the Program's completion provided additional data and trainee experiences.

Methods

Throughout the Support Center's administration of the FICRS-F Program, Support Center staff prospectively collected extensive data of interest on all trainees and Program alumni, and entered them into FIC's online CareerTrac database. CareerTrac data included sex, race (American trainees only), region of origin, trainee category (U.S. versus international and Scholar versus Fellow), year of training initiation, duration of FICRS-F-supported training, and region and country of training. We divided the trainees' research areas into three major disease categories (infectious diseases, noncommunicable diseases [NCD], and dual infectious/NCDs); 23 additional disease subcategories; and five special populations categories (women, children, adolescents, aging, and animals). Within infectious diseases, we designated human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and non-HIV sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as major subcategories. We searched PubMed for Scholar and Fellow publications, and categorized and analyzed in depth publications indexed through October 15, 2013.

To supplement the CareerTrac and PubMed data with impact-relevant variables that these sources did not capture, we surveyed 100 Program alumni between May 7 and October 23, 2013, using Vanderbilt's web-based survey and database tool, REDCap (http://projectredcap.org/). The selection of survey participants was random, but selection probability was weighted such that the combination of program (U.S. and international, Scholar and Fellow) and year of training should have a distribution similar to that of the entire program. The evaluation included questions on accomplishments, ongoing collaborations, career influences, continuing research, evolution of the trainees' interest in global health, return visits to the training sites, and trainees they had mentored. We reported results from these survey questions previously.11 The survey also asked alumni for numbers of publications, posters presented, and grant applications submitted and obtained, which we report here.

U.S. and LMIC trainees were classified as having completed the Scholar program, Fellow program, or both. The latter denotes persons who first were Scholars and were then supported as Fellows in subsequent years. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize trainee characteristics, research areas, and publication outputs by type of trainee. We used counts and percentages for categorical data and medians with interquartile ranges for continuous data. To estimate the association between trainee characteristics and publication output, we used multivariable linear regression with number of publications or first-author publications as the outcome. Specifically, program type, start year, number of years in program, sex, country of origin, major research area, and research on special populations were included in the model as covariates of interest. Too few of them had PhD degrees alone, so we elected not to enter degree into our regression models. An interaction term was included between training program and start year to fit the hypothesis that trainee publication output would differ by number of years elapsed since training. R-software 3.1.2 (www.r-project.org) was used for all data analyses, including a word cloud.

Results

The FICRS-F Program deployed 436 Scholars (often doctoral trainees in medicine or other health sciences) and 122 Fellows (postdoctoral health professionals)—totaling 558—in mentored clinical research training experiences at 61 NIH-funded sites in 27 countries. These comprised 540 individuals, as 18 persons were supported first as Scholars and subsequently reapplied and were supported as Fellows. Here we report outcomes for the 536 (99.3%) individuals who completed a year of supported research training in either or both capacities.

CareerTrac results.

Table 1 shows FICRS-F trainee characteristics by type of trainee and year of enrollment. Trainees were nearly evenly divided between women (53%) and men (47%); 49 (9%) of them were extended with support for a second year within their Scholar or Fellow role. Reflecting the Program's design, 52% were of U.S. origin and 48% were international, and the international trainees' regions of origin were diverse. Regionally, sub-Saharan Africa contributed the most international trainees (120). Peru, China, South Africa, India, and Kenya contributed more international trainees (at least 20 each) than did other countries, but no country other than the United States contributed more than 8% of the total. Among U.S. trainees, 71% reported their race as white, 21% as Asian, 5% as African–American, and 3% as other or chose not to specify.

Table 1

Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar and Fellow Characteristics by type of trainee

 U.S. ScholarInternational ScholarU.S. FellowInternational FellowU.S. both*International both*Combined
N2102036342612536
Doctoral levelPredoctoralPre- and postdoctoralPostdoctoralPostdoctoral
Means of selectionCompetitive, centralizedManaged by international sitesCompetitive, centralizedCompetitive, centralized
Start year, n (%)
 200417 (8%)14 (7%)0 (0%)0 (0%)3 (50%)1 (8%)35 (7%)
 200523 (11%)28 (14%)0 (0%)0 (0%)2 (33%)0 (0%)53 (10%)
 200621 (10%)24 (12%)0 (0%)0 (0%)1 (17%)2 (17%)48 (9%)
 200726 (12%)19 (9%)0 (0%)0 (0%)0 (0%)1 (8%)46 (9%)
 200832 (15%)31 (15%)15 (24%)15 (36%)0 (0%)3 (25%)96 (18%)
 200931 (15%)29 (14%)10 (16%)9 (21%)0 (0%)4 (33%)83 (15%)
 201037 (18%)36 (18%)18 (29%)10 (24%)0 (0%)1 (8%)102 (19%)
 201123 (11%)22 (11%)20 (32%)8 (19%)0 (0%)0 (0%)73 (14%)
Years of deployment, n (%)
 1 year209 (100%)202 (100%)41 (65%)35 (83%)N/AN/A487 (91%)
 > 1 year1 (< 1%)1 (< 1%)22 (35%)7 (17%)6 (100%)12 (100%)49 (9%)
Sex, n (%)
 Female122 (58%)94 (46%)38 (60%)26 (62%)0 (0%)6 (50%)286 (53%)
 Male88 (42%)109 (54%)25 (40%)16 (38%)6 (100%)6 (50%)250 (47%)
Region of origin, n (%)
 East Asia and Pacific3 (1%)31 (15%)0 (0%)6 (14%)0 (0%)0 (0%)40 (7%)
 Europe and Central Asia3 (1%)2 (1%)0 (0%)0 (0%)0 (0%)0 (0%)5 (1%)
 Latin America and Caribbean3 (1%)59 (29%)0 (0%)8 (19%)0 (0%)7 (58%)77 (14%)
 North America193 (92%)1 (< 1%)60 (95%)0 (0%)6 (100%)0 (0%)260 (49%)
 South Asia2 (1%)31 (15%)0 (0%)1 (2%)0 (0%)0 (0%)34 (6%)
 Sub-Saharan Africa6 (3%)79 (39%)3 (5%)27 (64%)0 (0%)5 (42%)120 (22%)
Race (U.S. trainees only), n (%)
 American Indian or Alaskan1 (1%)0 (0%)0 (0%)
 Asian41 (21%)12 (21%)1 (17%)
 Black or African–American7 (4%)6 (11%)0 (0%)
 Chose not to specify4 (2%)2 (4%)0 (0%)
 White143 (73%)37 (65%)5 (83%)

“Both” denotes trainees supported first as a Scholar and in a subsequent year as a Fellow. For these individuals, the first year of enrollment is used as the index date for analyses.

Figure 1 shows trends in the major research categories (infectious diseases, NCDs, and combined infectious/NCD) pursued by trainees over the years of FICRS-F. In addition to an increase in total research projects in 2008 when the Fellows Program was instituted, the graph shows an increase in NCD and infectious/NCD research in the Program's last 4 years. Comparing 2004–2007 with 2008–2011, the proportion of infectious disease-only projects declined from 84% to 60% (52% in the final year, 2011), whereas projects focused on NCDs or infectious/NCDs increased from 16% to 40% (52% in the final year, 2011). Table 2 shows subcategories of the trainees' research topic areas. HIV/AIDS was the focus of 47% of the projects, and non-HIV STIs 13%. Long-standing global health topics such as maternal and child health, tuberculosis/pulmonary diseases, and parasitology comprised 12–14% of projects each, whereas less traditional topics for LMICs were also highly represented: basic science and health behavior (18% each), health-care systems (15%), and cancer (10%). Conditions particularly affecting women and children were each pursued by 19% of trainees. Figure 2 shows a word cloud created from the topic categories, in which the sizes of the words reflect the relative numbers of trainees whose research addressed the respective topics.

Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows research areas by start year.

Citation: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 93, 6; 10.4269/ajtmh.15-0432

Table 2

Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar and Fellow Research Areas by type of trainee

 U.S. ScholarInternational ScholarU.S. FellowInternational FellowU.S. bothInternational bothCombined
N2102036342612536
Major research area, n (%)
 Infectious150 (72%)132 (73%)30 (48%)25 (61%)3 (50%)6 (50%)346 (68%)
 Noncommunicable25 (12%)31 (17%)22 (35%)10 (24%)0 (0%)2 (17%)90 (18%)
 Noncommunicable and infectious33 (16%)17 (9%)11 (17%)6 (15%)3 (50%)4 (33%)74 (15%)
HIV/AIDS and/or STIs
 HIV/AIDS112 (53%)84 (41%)27 (43%)19 (45%)5 (83%)7 (58%)254 (47%)
 STIs (non-HIV)37 (18%)17 (8%)8 (13%)6 (14%)0 (0%)2 (17%)70 (13%)
Specific topic
 Allergy or immunology20 (10%)19 (9%)3 (5%)4 (10%)0 (0%)1 (8%)47 (9%)
 Basic science (genetics, molecular biology, pathology)33 (16%)45 (22%)10 (16%)8 (19%)1 (17%)1 (8%)98 (18%)
 Health behavior55 (26%)17 (8%)10 (16%)7 (17%)2 (33%)7 (58%)98 (18%)
 Cancer25 (12%)14 (7%)7 (11%)6 (14%)0 (0%)1 (8%)53 (10%)
 Cardiology17 (8%)13 (6%)10 (16%)8 (19%)0 (0%)2 (17%)50 (9%)
 Dermatology6 (3%)3 (1%)2 (3%)1 (2%)1 (17%)0 (0%)13 (2%)
 Diabetes/kidney/metabolic9 (4%)8 (4%)2 (3%)3 (7%)1 (17%)1 (8%)24 (4%)
 Diarrheal diseases21 (10%)19 (9%)1 (2%)1 (2%)0 (0%)1 (8%)43 (8%)
 Eye diseases3 (1%)1 (< 1%)3 (5%)2 (5%)0 (0%)1 (8%)10 (2%)
 Environmental health15 (7%)14 (7%)0 (0%)1 (2%)1 (17%)2 (17%)33 (6%)
 Health care systems43 (20%)14 (7%)13 (21%)4 (10%)1 (17%)3 (25%)78 (15%)
 Maternal and child health30 (14%)16 (8%)8 (13%)5 (12%)1 (17%)3 (25%)63 (12%)
 Mental health6 (3%)3 (1%)6 (10%)3 (7%)1 (17%)1 (8%)20 (4%)
 Neurological disease and stroke13 (6%)15 (7%)6 (10%)3 (7%)1 (17%)1 (8%)39 (7%)
 Nutrition15 (7%)19 (9%)3 (5%)5 (12%)2 (33%)0 (0%)44 (8%)
 Parasitology35 (17%)27 (13%)7 (11%)4 (10%)2 (33%)1 (8%)76 (14%)
 Pulmonary43 (20%)21 (10%)7 (11%)7 (17%)3 (50%)3 (25%)84 (16%)
 Substance abuse10 (5%)4 (2%)1 (2%)1 (2%)0 (0%)0 (0%)16 (3%)
 Surgery/trauma4 (2%)0 (0%)5 (8%)1 (2%)1 (17%)1 (8%)12 (2%)
 Tobacco1 (< 1%)1 (< 1%)0 (0%)1 (2%)0 (0%)0 (0%)3 (1%)
 Tuberculosis35 (17%)19 (9%)4 (6%)5 (12%)3 (50%)3 (25%)69 (13%)
 Oral5 (2%)2 (1%)0 (0%)0 (0%)0 (0%)0 (0%)7 (1%)
 Other10 (5%)2 (1%)0 (0%)0 (0%)0 (0%)0 (0%)12 (2%)
Special populations
 Aging1 (< 1%)2 (1%)0 (0%)0 (0%)0 (0%)0 (0%)3 (1%)
 Women49 (23%)28 (14%)12 (19%)6 (14%)1 (17%)5 (42%)101 (19%)
 Children46 (22%)29 (14%)14 (22%)11 (26%)1 (17%)2 (17%)103 (19%)
 Adolescents11 (5%)2 (1%)1 (2%)1 (2%)0 (0%)1 (8%)16 (3%)
 Animals7 (3%)4 (2%)0 (0%)2 (5%)0 (0%)1 (8%)14 (3%)

AIDS = acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; HIV = human immunodeficiency virus; STI = sexually transmitted infection.

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Word cloud of research project titles in the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Program. To be included, words must have occurred a minimum of 15 times.

Citation: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 93, 6; 10.4269/ajtmh.15-0432

Statistics on trainee and alumni publications, derived from PubMed, are shown in Table 3. Program alumni had coauthored more than 3,000 articles by June 2015; we analyzed the first 1,617 publications in depth. Of these, 647 (40.0%) were published within the Scholar or Fellow year(s), and 55% were published following the formal training period. Trainees were first author of 501 papers (31%). International trainees published more papers (920) than U.S. trainees (697), but U.S. trainees were slightly more often first author (308 papers, or 1.1 per U.S. trainee versus 193, or 0.75 per LMIC trainee, P = 0.062). Similarly, Fellows were first author on a higher proportion of articles than were Scholars (41% versus 26% of their respective papers, P < 0.001).

Table 3

Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar and Fellow Publications by type of trainee

 U.S. ScholarInternational ScholarU.S. FellowInternational FellowU.S. bothIntl bothCombined
Total40769925315437671,617
Trainee is first author160129131481716501
Proportion with trainee as first author39%18%52%31%46%24%31%
Impact factor, median (IQR)3.1 (2.2–4.7)3.1 (2.2–4.6)3.7 (2.2–5.4)3.7 (2.2–5.7)4 (2.6–6)2.5 (1.4–3.7)3.4 (2.2–4.7)
Citations, median (IQR)9 (4–21)9 (3–20)6 (2–15)8 (3–18)13 (6–56)8 (4–18)8 (3–19)
Citations, range0–3100–1,0200–6650–3540–2200–930–1,020
Pre-training11322160373
In-training158216124841847647
 First author is trainee6546672989224
 Impact factor, median (IQR)3 (2.1–4.4)2.6 (2.2–3.8)3.6 (2.2–4.7)3.7 (2.2–6.4)4.1 (2.6–4.9)3.2 (1.6–3.7)3.2 (2.2–4.6)
Post-training238451108641917897
 First author is trainee8578501295239
 Impact factor, median (IQR)3.3 (2.2–4.9)3.4 (2.2–4.7)3.8 (2.3–6.4)3.6 (1.9–4.9)3.9 (2.6–8.7)2.2 (1–3.5)3.4 (2.2–4.8)

IQR = interquartile range.

Data were derived from PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed).

The 10 journals most used by FICRS-F trainees and alumni were PLoS One, The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Journal of AIDS, Clinical Infectious Diseases, the Journal of Infectious Diseases, AIDS, BMC Public Health, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, and The Lancet. The 10 journals with the highest impact factors were the New England Journal of Medicine (N = 9 articles), Nature Reviews Cardiology (1), Lancet (18), Nature Genetics (1), Science (2), JAMA (4), Lancet Oncology (1), Nature Reviews Microbiology (1), Lancet Infectious Diseases (5), and the Journal of Clinical Oncology (1). The median (interquartile range [IQR]) journal impact factor was 3.4 (2.2–4.7). Table 4 shows the most cited articles among the first 1,617 articles published by FICRS-F alumni as coauthor and as first author.

Table 4

Most cited global health articles with Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar and Fellow Alumni as first author and as coauthor

First authorCoauthor
Journal, yearTitleJournal, yearTitle
Acad Med, 2007Global health in medical education: a call for more training and opportunitiesScience, 2010Effectiveness and safety of tenofovir gel, an antiretroviral microbicide, for the prevention of HIV infection in women
Acad Med, 2009Global health training and international clinical rotations during residency: current status, needs, and opportunitiesLancet, 2012DALYs for 291 diseases and injuries in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010
J Am Coll Cardiol, 2011Incidence of cardiovascular risk factors in an Indian urban cohort results from the New Delhi birth cohortLancet, 2012YLDs for 1,160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010
J Am Coll Cardiol, 2013HIV and cardiovascular disease in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Sutton Law as applied to global healthN Engl J Med, 2010Timing of initiation of antiretroviral drugs during tuberculosis therapy
BMC Infect Dis, 2006Male circumcision, religion, and infectious diseases: an ecologic analysis of 118 developing countriesN Engl J Med, 2010Pediatric hospitalizations associated with 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) in Argentina
Nature Rev Microbiol, 2009Cholera transmission: the host, pathogen, and bacteriophage dynamicLancet, 2007Syphilis in China: results of a national surveillance program
PLoS One, 2009Within-subject variability of interferon-g assay results for tuberculosis and boosting effect of tuberculin skin testing: a systematic reviewJAMA, 2007Clinical outcomes and CD4 cell response in children receiving antiretroviral therapy at primary health care facilities in Zambia
Am J Resp Crit Care Med, 2009Within-subject variability and boosting of T-cell interferon-gamma responses after tuberculin skin testingN Engl J Med, 2010Maternal or infant antiretroviral drugs to reduce HIV-1 transmission
Sex Transm Dis, 2006China's syphilis epidemic: a systematic review of seroprevalence studiesAcad Med, 2007Global health in medical education: a call for more training and opportunities
N Engl J Med, 2010Syphilis and social upheaval in ChinaAcad Med, 2009Global health training and international clinical rotations during residency: current status, needs, and opportunities

DALY = disability-adjusted life year; HIV = human immunodeficiency virus; YLD = year lived with disability.

Citations were analyzed as of October 2013.

Table 5 shows the results of regression analysis on correlates of publication output. Being a Fellow (versus Scholar, P < 0.001), training in earlier Program years (versus later, P = 0.001), and the interaction of these terms (P < 0.001) were associated with significantly higher publication output. After controlling for these variables in the regression model, other significant factors were country of origin (LMIC trainees had higher output, P < 0.001), 2 or more years in the program (higher output, P = 0.014), and pursuit of research involving children (lower output, P = 0.012). We did not detect a difference by trainee sex, major research area, research involving women, or research involving animals. Put differently, for every calendar year elapsed after completing FICRS-F support, Scholars and Fellows had on average 0.4 and 1.6 more publications, respectively. Individuals who completed 2 or more years in the program had on average 1.6 more publications, independent of program start year, than did those who were supported for 1 year. LMIC trainees had on average 1.3 more publications than U.S. trainees. Trainees whose research focused on children published about one less article on average than did those with other research foci.

Table 5

Factors associated with Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholar and Fellow publication output in multivariable linear regression

 Total publicationsFirst-author publications
Effect (95% CI)P valueEffect (95% CI)P value
Program type and start year interaction 0.001* 0.001*
 Scholars (per 1 year passed)0.42 (0.23, 0.61)0.12 (0.04, 0.19)
 Fellows (per 1 year passed)1.59 (0.90, 2.3)0.59 (0.31, 0.87)
Number of years in program0.010.006
 1 year only (referent group)00
 2 or more years1.63 (0.33, 2.92)0.73 (0.21, 1.25)
Female−0.53 (−1.27, 0.20)0.16−0.15 (−0.44, 0.15)0.323
Country of origin< 0.0010.043
 United States (referent group)00
 LMIC1.33 (0.60, 2.05)−0.30 (−0.59, −0.01)
Major research area0.930.729
 Infectious (referent group)00
 Noncommunicable−0.04 (−1.05, 0.96)0.16 (−0.25, 0.56)
 Noncommunicable and infectious0.19 (−0.86, 1.25)0.08 (−0.34, 0.51)
Research experience involved women0.27 (−0.66, 1.19)0.57−0.09 (−0.46, 0.29)0.652
Research experience involved children−1.16 (−2.06, −0.26)0.012−0.47 (−0.83, −0.10)0.012
Research experience involved animals−1.66 (−3.87, 0.55)0.14−0.72 (−1.60, 0.17)0.112

CI = confidence interval; LMIC = low- and middle-income countries.

This model includes 510 scholars and fellows (26 individuals were missing data on major research area). Participants who completed both programs were included in this model as Scholars.

There is evidence of association for program type (P < 0.001), start year (P < 0.001), and their interaction (P = 0.001).

Linear regression on correlates of first-author publication output yielded similar results, with Fellow (versus Scholar, P < 0.001), training in earlier Program years (versus later, P < 0.001), and the interaction of these terms (P = 0.001) associated with significantly higher first-author publication output (Table 5). After controlling for these variables in the same regression model as above, however, LMIC trainees had lower first-author output (P = 0.04). Other significant factors were 2 or more years in the program (higher output, P = 0.006) and pursuit of research involving children (lower output, P = 0.012). We did not detect a difference by trainee sex, major research area, research involving women, and research involving animals.

Survey results.

Among the 100 alumni randomly selected for the intensive survey in 2013, we achieved a response rate of 94% (38 U.S. and 34 international doctoral Scholars and 15 U.S. and seven international postdoctoral Fellows).11

Accomplishments derived directly from work done by the survey respondents during their training period included 207 primary research papers (2.2 per trainee), 14 book chapters, 52 review articles, 32 other publications (e.g., letters, editorials, commentaries, book reviews), and 215 poster presentations. U.S. Fellows had published four (median; IQR: 2–7) papers; international Fellows two (1–4); U.S. Scholars one (0–2); and international Scholars one (1–2) papers. Most participants had presented two or more posters at scientific meetings. Respondents reported submission of 117 grant proposals derived directly from work done during training by U.S. Fellows (N = 37), U.S. Scholars (N = 22), international Fellows (N = 17), and international Scholars (N = 41). These 94 alumni received 30 U.S. government–funded grants and 49 non-U.S. government–funded grants (total 79 funded, estimated success rate = 67.5%).

Discussion

During its 8 years of operation, the NIH FICRS-F Program supported a large number of pre- and postdoctoral trainees from the United States and LMICs in yearlong LMIC-based research training experiences. Our analysis shows that FICRS-F alumni were productive in terms of research publications and grant applications, and they had been relatively successful in obtaining grant awards. Accomplishments that may be directly linked to the FICRS-F experience are numerous, and there is evidence that productivity increases over time. Although predoctoral Scholars were less productive within the first several years of their training, this is to be expected as they were mostly students (versus postdoctoral Fellows). The output of former Scholars may become more evident in future years as they complete formal training and play more active roles in determining the directions of their careers. Postdoctoral Fellows were productive in these output metrics and were also moving toward independence in global health research, as judged by first-author publications, grant applications submitted, and grants awarded.

Scholarly output, both publications and grant applications, was higher from trainees supported in the Program's earlier years, who had thus accumulated more post-training years. Of interest, LMIC alumni coauthored more total publications than did U.S. alumni, but U.S. alumni were first author on a larger proportion than were LMIC alumni. The higher age of international Scholars versus U.S. Scholars (median 32 versus 27 years, and indistinguishable from the ages of U.S. and international Fellows) and/or the higher proportion of biomedical scientists among international Scholars1 may have given LMIC alumni an advantage in total publication output, but the greater output of Fellows versus Scholars mitigates against this speculation (Table 5). Similarly, there was a higher proportion of men among international Scholars, but sex was not correlated with publication output. The higher first-author publication output of U.S. alumni could indicate that U.S. postdoctoral trainees moved more quickly into research independence than did LMIC alumni, who might have faced greater competing demands, such as for teaching or patient care, after their FICRS-F fellowships. LMIC alumni may also have worked within larger collaborative groups, and thus had to compete in larger author pools for first authorship. They might also have been subject to institutional guidelines or expectations favoring supervisors or senior colleagues as first authors, or publication circumstances (e.g., facility with English language writing) that favored U.S. authors. PubMed's show of greater total output from international Scholars (Table 3) suggests that our survey, although designed to be randomly representative of the overall alumni pool, may not have captured this group adequately.

Research conducted by FICRS-F trainees evolved from primarily infectious diseases in the Program's early years to a substantial proportion of research on NCDs and infection-related NCDs. This reflected a trend in global health research investments and priorities of the NIH institutes, centers, and offices that invested into the program, toward more global NCD research that is likely to continue into the future.12,13

Our productivity impact evaluation has strengths and limitations. Our findings benefit from prospective collection of much of the data and from PubMed, which does not depend on responses from or perceptions of Program alumni. The high response to our representative survey of alumni yielded additional results about grant submissions and awards, as well as information of a more reflective nature, but its variance from PubMed's findings may indicate that it underrepresented publication output from international Scholars. Our findings would have been strengthened by inclusion of a comparison group, but no such group was followed in the Program.

The investment of NIH institutes and centers into the FICRS-F Program yielded substantial research productivity in the early years following the trainees' completion of support. Research outputs and impact will increase over time as alumni careers mature and they gain research independence and assume leadership positions. Impacts on LMIC institutions will be harder to measure, but many alumni, both U.S. and (especially) LMIC alumni remain engaged at the LMIC training sites,11 and will contribute for years to come. We believe, but cannot prove, that formal research training, with U.S. institutional linkages, will incentivize LMIC clinical scientists to remain in their home countries, and represent a concrete effort to build expertise and opportunities that may curtail the long-standing “brain drain” to high-income nations.1416 In this manner, the successor Fogarty Global Health Fellows and Scholars Program continues to equip U.S. and LMIC Fellows and Scholars8 for effectiveness in global health research, and they are likely to contribute similarly to global health research productivity and institutional capacity.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We thank Roger Glass, Kenneth Bridbord, and Myat Htoo Razak at the Fogarty International Center; Aron Primack and Pierce Gardner, formerly at the FIC; the FICRS-F Site Principal Investigators and mentors; participating NIH institute and center directors and staff; and Anne-Gordon Smart, Sarah Schlachter, and Aditi Thite.

  • 1.

    Heimburger DC, Lem C, Gardner P, Primack A, Warner TL, Vermund SH, 2011. Nurturing the global workforce in clinical research: the NIH Fogarty International Clinical Scholars and Fellows Program. Am J Trop Med Hyg 85: 971978.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Shah SK, Nodell B, Montano SM, Behrens C, Zunt JR, 2011. Clinical research and global health: mentoring the next generation of health care students. Glob Public Health 6: 234246.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    McElmurry BJ, Misner SJ, Buseh AG, 2003. Minority International Research Training Program: global collaboration in nursing research. J Prof Nurs 19: 2231.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Freedman DO, Gotuzzo E, Seas C, Legua P, Plier DA, Vermund SH, Casebeer LL, 2002. Educational programs to enhance medical expertise in tropical diseases: the Gorgas Course experience 1996–2001. Am J Trop Med Hyg 66: 526532.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Drain PK, Holmes KK, Skeff KM, Hall TL, Gardner P, 2009. Global health training and international clinical rotations during residency: current status, needs, and opportunities. Acad Med 84: 320325.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Heimburger DC, Warner TL, Carothers CL, Blevins M, Thomas Y, Gardner P, Primack A, Vermund SH, 2013. Recruiting trainees for a global health research workforce: the NIH Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars Program selection process. Am J Trop Med Hyg 89: 281287.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Heimburger DC, Warner TL, Carothers CL, Blevins M, Thomas Y, Gardner P, Primack A, Vermund SH, 2014. Recruiting postdoctoral fellows into global health research: selecting NIH Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellows. Am J Trop Med Hyg 91: 219224.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Carothers CL, Heimburger DC, Schlachter S, Gardner P, Primack A, Warner TL, Vermund SH, 2014. Training programs within global networks: lessons learned in the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Program. Am J Trop Med Hyg 90: 173179.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Bearnot B, Coria A, Barnett BS, Clark EH, Gartland MG, Jaganath D, Mendenhall E, Seu L, Worjoloh AG, Carothers CL, Vermund SH, Heimburger DC, 2014. Global health research in narrative: a qualitative look at the FICRS-F experience. Am J Trop Med Hyg 91: 863868.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Heimburger DC, Carothers CL, Blevins M, Warner TL, Vermund SH, 2015. Impact of Intensive Global Health Research Training on Career Trajectories: the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Program. Am J Trop Med Hyg 93: 655661.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Vermund SH, Narayan KM, Glass RI, 2014. Chronic diseases in HIV survivors. Sci Transl Med 6: 241ed14.

  • 13.

    Jaacks LM, Ali MK, Bartlett J, Bloomfield GS, Checkley W, Gaziano TA, Heimburger DC, Kishore SP, Kohler RK, Lipska KJ, Manders O, Ngaruiya C, Peck R, Burroughs Pena M, Watkins D, Siegel KR, Narayan KM, 2015. Global non-communicable disease research: opportunities and challenges. Ann Intern Med 163: 712714.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Kasper J, Bajunirwe F, 2012. Brain drain in sub-Saharan Africa: contributing factors, potential remedies and the role of academic medical centres. Arch Dis Child 97: 973979.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    Tankwanchi AB, Ozden C, Vermund SH, 2013. Physician emigration from sub-Saharan Africa to the United States: analysis of the 2011 AMA Physician Masterfile. PLoS Med 10: e1001513. Erratum in: PLoS Med10: 24068894.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Tankwanchi AB, Vermund SH, Perkins DD, 2015. Monitoring Sub-Saharan African physician migration and recruitment post-adoption of the WHO Code of Practice: temporal and geographic patterns in the United States. PLoS One 10: e0124734.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Douglas C. Heimburger, Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203. E-mail: douglas.heimburger@vanderbilt.edu

Financial support: This work was supported by the NIH Office of the Director, Fogarty International Center, Office of AIDS Research, National Cancer Institute, National Eye Institute, National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and NIH Office of Research on Women's Health, through the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Program at Vanderbilt-AAMC (R24 TW007988). Additional support was received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, http://recovery.nih.gov/) in 2010–2011 and the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR: UL1TR000445 from NCATS/NIH). Study data were collected and managed using and Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) tools hosted at Vanderbilt University (https://redcap.vanderbilt.edu).

Authors' addresses: Douglas C. Heimburger and Sten H. Vermund, Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, E-mails: douglas.heimburger@vanderbilt.edu and sten.vermund@vanderbilt.edu. Catherine Lem Carothers, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Global Oncology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, E-mail: ccarothe@fredhutch.org. Meridith Blevins, Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, and Institute for Global Health, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, E-mail: meridith.blevins@vanderbilt.edu. Tokesha L. Warner, Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, E-mail: tlwarner@uga.edu.

Save