“The Principal Investigator Council is one of the most important innovations of MEPI”
– Dr. Nelson Sewenkambo
Medical education institutions play an integral role in the support of health care workers around the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where shortages in human resources for health (HRH) are particularly acute. Sub-Saharan Africa carries 25 percent of the global HIV/AIDS burden with fewer than 3 percent of the world’s health care workers. In an innovative and collaborative effort to address these shortages, the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) was formed in October 2010. Funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), MEPI is jointly administered by the Fogarty International Center of the NIH and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). MEPI currently supports thirteen African educational institutions in a dozen countries through five-year grants to develop, expand, and enhance models of medical education.
Through MEPI PEPFAR supports efforts to increase the number and quality of new health care workers, strengthen medical education systems in the African countries in which they exist, and build clinical and research capacity in Africa as part of a retention strategy for faculty of medical schools and clinical professors. The overarching goal of this initiative is to build human capacity for health in Africa to help address their significant gap in HRH. This is being accomplished by strengthening the medical education system in an environment that values and nurtures research and, thus, contribute to the sustainability and quality of the overall effort. This educational reform also contributes to the sustainability of PEPFAR investments through clinical training and capacity-building of medical students and faculty to participate in and carry out multidisciplinary locally-driven research (e.g. implementation science and/or clinical, health services, and operations research) that targets priority health outcomes for their communities. MEPI serves as a model initiative for global health institutional partnerships that support the growth and sustainability of HRH.
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