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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 14, 2004

UI Receives Grant To Promote Global Health Equity

The Rockefeller Foundation recently awarded a grant of $50,000 to Usha Balakrishnan (left), director of the University of Iowa Office of Corporate Partnerships. The grant will support a collaborative project with the Centre for the Management of Intellectual Property in Health R&D (MIHR), an international nonprofit agency based in Oxford, United Kingdom, with which the University of Iowa formally entered into a memorandum of understanding in spring 2004.

The grant will be used to develop new training curricula for university-based technology managers in the United States and Canada to foster best practices in the ethical stewardship of university inventions to promote global health equity.

Balakrishnan, along with several colleagues from the United States and abroad, founded in 2003 a group called Technology Managers for Global Health within the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM). She has organized and led several workshops at national and international conferences to heighten the awareness of the complex public policy issues and challenges that arise in the context of managing inventions that address treatments for so-called "neglected diseases" that afflict large populations of the poor in developing countries.

Over the summer, Balakrishnan participated in a symposium at the Rockefeller Study Center in Bellagio, Italy. She moderated a session last week at the AUTM Executive Forum in Idaho titled, "Redefining the Social Quotient in Academic Technology Transfer through Social Entrepreneurship."

"Understandably, these are somewhat new and yet-untested fields with significant challenges. But I see emerging roles for universities to catalyze and engage in new kinds of alliances with a variety of partners to advance global health causes," Balakrishnan said. "I see this as an opportunity to tremendously extend the impact of our professional work."

The grant will enable Balakrishnan to launch new projects with several UI faculty, staff and students. She is affiliated with the UI Global Health Studies program, and is working on several projects in the coming year with the UI College of Public Health and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. As part of the grant, she recently co-organized a symposium at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine on the impact of science on global health and humanitarianism.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at http://www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, (319) 335-8032, david-pedersen@uiowa.edu. Writer: Christine Nicholson