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Recent Releases: USAID; NTD Fact Sheet, Journal; Ethics In NGO Research

Blog Examines State Of USAID, Potential Farmer Appointment

The OhMyGov! blog examines the possible appointment of Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer to lead USAID, “a troubled institution that has been without a leader since President Obama’s inauguration.” The blog looks at the vetting process and what some “USAID watchers” say about Farmer’s potential nomination and the future of the agency.  “Even if he doesn’t end up leading USAID, Farmer may take another position working on global health policy at either USAID or the State Department,” according to the blog (Knight, 7/30).

Fact Sheet Examines Global NTDS, U.S. Policy Response

A recently released Kaiser Family Foundation fact sheet examines neglected tropical diseases, a group of parasitic and bacterial infections that primarily affect the most impoverished and vulnerable populations in the world, which have received scant attention until recently.  It also looks at the U.S. policy response (7/29).

PLoS Medicine Examines Ethics Review In Research Conducted By Humanitarian Groups

“Many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) provide medical care and humanitarian assistance to some of the most vulnerable populations on earth. Increasingly, such organizations are also important producers of health research, which can range from simple health surveys or interview studies, to complex clinical trials,” the authors of a PLoS Medicine editorial write in a piece that examines some of the ethical issues that arise in these circumstances. “NGOs have a long and proud history of caring and speaking for the most vulnerable populations. That such organizations now conduct research to inform their care and advocacy is to be welcomed. Their messages are widely heard; conducting and publishing high-quality research that adheres to the highest principles can only empower their voices further,” the authors conclude (7/28).

A separate PLoS Medicine article examines the function of the independent ethics review board used by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the international humanitarian aid organization, and some of the ethical challenges the board has faced since its inception in 2001 (Schopper, 7/28).

PLoS NTD Journal Marks Two Years Of Publication

A PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) editorial reflects on the journal, which was launched nearly two years ago “to achieve multiple goals by creating a new journal for the NTD community.” According to the editorial, the journal has received almost half of its submissions from the NTD-endemic countries (Hotez/Aksoy, 7/28).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.