Center will contribute multidisciplinary sustainable solutions that address the global burden of NCDs and build resilience against COVID-19
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — RTI International (RTI), a nonprofit research institute, recently established a new Center for Global Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) within the Global Health Division of its International Development Group. The Center will apply multidisciplinary technical expertise, research capacity, and programmatic experience across RTI to address the growing global burden of NCDs, an important approach to mitigate COVID-19, and build resilience against future pandemics.
The Center builds on the work of RTI’s Global Noncommunicable Diseases Initiative, which was started in 2016 and focused on building evidence and capacity for impactful, innovative and cost-effective solutions to NCDs in low- and middle-income countries. Since then, the Initiative has grown to encompass work in more than 40 countries and partnerships with governments, non-governmental organizations, private foundations, and multilateral organizations to address NCDs in all stages, from prevention to detection to long term disease management.
People with NCDs and NCD risk factors, such as obesity, have been found to be at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, highlighting the important role that NCD prevention and treatment must play in pandemic response.
“Continued investment in the treatment and prevention of NCDs is critical in contributing to pandemic response and global economic growth and wellbeing and is central to RTI’s mission of improving the human condition,” said E. Wayne Holden, Ph.D, President and CEO of RTI. “By establishing this Center, we are committed to being at the forefront of global efforts to respond to this complex challenge with multi-sectoral solutions.”
NCDs—such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes—are the leading cause of human death and disability worldwide, with more than 80% of premature deaths due to these diseases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. The risk factors for NCDs are multi-faceted, ranging from behavioral determinants such as tobacco use and unhealthy diets to economic determinants such as inequalities in wealth—therefore requiring coordinated cross-sectoral solutions.
Led by Rachel Nugent, Ph.D, Vice President for Global NCDs, the new Center draws on the cross-sectoral expertise of more than 30 RTI experts. The Center boasts expertise in health economics and financing, health systems strengthening, implementation science, policy analysis, program development and evaluation, data science, and survey design.
“The coronavirus pandemic has shown us the linkages between infectious disease and NCDs, and we must consider preventing and managing NCDs as an essential strategy to control this and future pandemics. Our new Center will bring together a broad range of RTI’s expertise to arrive at sustainable solutions for this global crisis,” said Nugent.
To learn more about the Center for NCDs, visit: https://www.rti.org/globalncds
To learn more about how NCDs and their risk factors contribute to COVID-19 vulnerability, click here.