2014 Release: NIH awards two new grants to explore the understanding of genomics research in Africa

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NIH awards two new grants to explore the understanding of genomics research in Africa

H 3 Africa
Bethesda, Md., Fri., Aug. 1, 2014 - Two grants totaling more than $300,000 will support studies on genomic literacy among Africans as it relates to research conducted in Africa by African investigators. The three-year grants are part of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) program, funded by the National Institutes of Health's Common Fund in partnership with Britain's Wellcome Trust.

One of the grants will support a research project to understand cultural and language concepts of genomics in Nigeria. The goal is to develop a participant consent form for a diabetes study that better relays genetic concepts in terms that people from both rural and urban environments in Nigeria understand.  The other grant will support a project to determine Ethiopians' understanding of gene-environment interactions, with a goal of also increasing awareness about disease susceptibility.

Both grants are part of the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) component of H3Africa. The program has disbursed approximately $78 million to date.  

"These grants will help us begin to get a better sense of what people in two different African countries understand about genomics concepts," said H3Africa Program Director Ebony Madden, Ph.D., an epidemiologist in the Division of Genomic Medicine at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of NIH. "We hope that what we learn from this work will lead to more effective informed consent discussions with potential research participants and to new culturally appropriate educational strategies about genomics."
The following groups have been awarded grants (pending available funds):
Dr. Madden said both research projects could lead to broader applications.

"Both studies will increase our knowledge of how to tailor informed consents and educational materials based on linguistic and cultural needs so that genomic concepts are better understood," Dr. Madden said. "Many times, even though we try to write on a young elementary school student level, we are still using terms that certain cultures may not be able to relate to. These studies will teach us how to truly inform participants and/or educate the public about genetic concepts that they may only have a vague idea about."

These awards are supported by NIH grants 1U01HG007654-01 and 1U01HG007628-01.

NHGRI is one of the 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health. The NHGRI Extramural Research Program supports grants for research and training and career development at sites nationwide. Additional information about NHGRI can be found at www.genome.gov.

The NIH Common Fund encourages collaboration and supports a series of exceptionally high-impact, trans-NIH programs. Common Fund programs are designed to pursue major opportunities and gaps in biomedical research that no single NIH institute could tackle alone, but that the agency as a whole can address to make the biggest impact possible on the progress of medical research. Additional information about the NIH Common Fund can be found at http://commonfund.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.


NHGRI Communications
Steven Benowitz
(301) 451-8325

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Last Updated: August 7, 2014