Overarching Strategy of Gorgas I and II Projects:
The main goals of both Gorgas projects have been to improve capabilities for preparedness against pandemic influenza and other emerging infections through the enhancement of surveillance and laboratory infrastructures, as well as building capacities on regional education and training through the establishment of a Regional Health Care Training Center (RHTC) for Latin American Health Care Workers. In addition, HHS-ASPR-OMSPH has leveraged and promoted effective partnerships between GMI and other operating divisions of HHS, and with other U.S. Government and academic institutions.
Infectious Disease Surveillance Networks in Central America and Panama (Gorgas I Project):
In Fiscal Year 2006, HHS-ASPR-OMSPH established this cooperative agreement with the Gorgas Memorial Institute (GMI) of Health Studies, in Panamá City, to enhance the surveillance, epidemiological investigation, and laboratory diagnostic capabilities in Panamá and other selected countries in Latin America that are at risk for an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Such enhancements are helping to establish an early-warning system that could prevent and contain the spread of avian influenza to the United States, and enhance our nation’s preparedness for a possible human influenza pandemic.
Training of Latin American Health Care Workers through the Gorgas Memorial Institute, Republic of Panama (Gorgas II Project):
In Fiscal Year 2006, HHS-ASPR-OMSPH established this cooperative agreement with the Gorgas Memorial Institute (GMI) of Health Studies, in the Republic of Panamá, to support the development of a Regional Health-Care Training Center (RHCTC) in Panamá City to provide training to enhance the knowledge and skills of community health workers and clinicians from Central and South America.
In Fiscal Year 2008, HHS-ASPR-OMSPH provided additional funding through a supplement to the cooperative agreement with Gorgas whereby the RHTC, the HHS Indian Health Service (IHS) and U.S.-based NGOs are collaborating to develop and provide high-quality training in primary health topics like courses on maternal and child care, basic primary care and emergency-preparedness to train leaders and health workers from Panamanian indigenous communities. These capacity-building courses will be focusing on preventive health care, health promotion, and health protection to assist in strengthening the preparedness and response capabilities of tribal communities in case of a public health emergency.
In Fiscal Year 2009, the HHS- Food and Drug Administration (HHS-FDA) will hold capacity-building courses for product safety at the RHCTC, beginning with the regulation of medical devices. HHS-FDA intends to support a wide range of training activities at the RHCTC in the safety of food, drugs and medical devices. As the programmatic caretakers of HHS-ASPR cooperative agreement with the GMI in Panamá, which funds the Regional Health-Care Training Center (RHCTC), OMSPH has been coordinating and collaborating with HHS- Office of Global Health Affairs (HHS-OGHA) and FDA to facilitate complementary synergies with other HHS programmatic activities at the RHCTC.