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The History and Future of the “Neglected Tropical Diseases” – Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Research to Improve Public Health Outcomes

Webel, Mari and Krier, Sarah Elizabeth and Bui, Thuy and Sirleaf, Matiangai and Dietrich, Michael and Van Panhuis, Wilbert (2020) The History and Future of the “Neglected Tropical Diseases” – Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Research to Improve Public Health Outcomes. In: Pitt Momentum Fund 2020, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Unpublished)

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"We propose a new, multidisciplinary research team to explore historical and ongoing dynamics that have influenced the scientific priorities, funding resources, and research capacities focused on the “neglected tropical diseases” (NTDs). The NTDs are a suite of high-morbidity, low-mortality illnesses, generally affecting impoverished populations, that have animated significant financial, human, and technical resources toward their elimination or eradication in the past several decades. Little is known about the historical evolution of this fundamental category in global health research, or of how the designation of an illness as an NTD has impacted the development of new knowledge, diagnostic tools, vaccines, treatments, or laws and policies.

A successful Dietrich School Social Science Research Initiative (SSRI)-funded project (2018-19) began to explore the evolution and impact of NTD strategies on global health. Awarded to Professors Dietrich, Sirleaf, and Webel, that SSRI grant funded the development of a comprehensive new database of NTD publications and research trends from 1945 to the present, from which we have identified several crucial inflection points for further research. We have started to analyze preliminary data on a single NTD test case (onchocerciasis), for which we will incorporate additional geographical data on researchers, institutional affiliations, and origins of research samples, as well as funding sources and country-level data on disease prevalence, in order to map and visualize how research and research capacity of this NTD changed over time.

We now seek to expand and formalize collaboration with colleagues in Public Health and Medicine. This new collaboration will allow us to marry quantitative and qualitative analysis of NTD publications data and real-world observational data to explore how comprehensive knowledge of the origins, development, and trajectory of the NTD category can shape future policy and research. Understanding historical inflection points in NTD research, as well as their long-term outcomes in new policies, drugs, or interventions, will clarify how different funding strategies, new and changing collaborative networks, and complementarities and tensions in research have impacted NTD research since the 1970s. This new understanding of the NTDs will allow our research team to connect global political agendas to research funding and public health outcomes in unprecedented ways.

The team’s goal is the development of a major grant application suitable for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and/or a proposal for co-application with the WHO’s Programme in Tropical Diseases Research to private funders."


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Webel, Marimwebel@pitt.edumwebel0000-0001-6688-1355
Krier, Sarah Elizabethsek29@pitt.edusek290000-0001-8342-7592
Bui, Thuythb33@pitt.eduTHB33
Sirleaf, Matiangaimatiangai.sirleaf@pitt.eduMVS310000-0002-4187-2783
Dietrich, Michaelmdietrich@pitt.edumdietrich0000-0001-6794-3618
Van Panhuis, Wilbertwav10@pitt.eduwav100000-0002-7278-9982
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Office of Sponsored Research > Pitt Momentum Fund
Date: 2020
Event Title: Pitt Momentum Fund 2020
Event Type: Other
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.18117/4knc-1p69
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
School of Law > Law
School of Medicine > Biomedical Informatics
School of Medicine > Medicine
School of Public Health > Epidemiology
School of Public Health > Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Refereed: No
Other ID: 3264
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2020 16:45
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2023 19:23


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