The greatest burden of global disease lies in the poorest of countries. However, efforts towards reducing global health disparities are handicapped by an even more glaring disparity in global health leadership. While there are many promising leaders who have effectively championed local initiatives, the highest concentration of global health leadership still resides in regions with the lowest burden of disease. A majority of new public health knowledge originates in North America, Western Europe, Japan and Australia as compared to regions with the greatest burden of disease.
Drawing on the academic training, research mentorship and global health expertise of Harvard University, the Harvard Global Scholars program aims to develop and retain health science professionals within partner countries and foster long-term in-country leadership to maximize and sustain recent investments in global public health. The Program offers a combination of salary support, sundry research funds, didactic training, and long-term mentorship to promising global health science leaders. The program and mentoring committee for the scholars is chaired by Dr David Bangsberg.
Dr. Francis Bajunirwe was appointed as Global Scholar in July 2009 for a 5 year duration, renewed annually and conditional on availability of funds. Since his appointment he has successfully published 6 papers in peer reviewed journals. As a result of the mentorship by Dr Bangsberg, he successfully applied for a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation (2009-2010) to conduct a study on health worker migration. Dr Bajunirwe has networked and established collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health and now MUST is one of 5 African Universities in the Harvard-Africa Partnership for Cohort Research and Training (PacT). He has attended 2 research courses at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and 3 conferences using support from the Global Scholars program.
The current funding climate has been unfavorable and several attempts to apply for new grants have been met with rejection.
Dr Bajunirwe is currently seeking new collaborations and networks using the mentorship provided by the Global scholars program as a spring board. It is anticipated that by the end of the tenure as a Global Scholar, Dr Bajunirwe will be established as an independent researcher.