Creating Opportunities for Students and Faculty in Europe

Meetings with French health leaders promise new funding avenues for students and faculty

February 24, 2014

Earlier this month, a contingent of academic leaders at the Mailman School met with their counterparts in the French capital to identify opportunities for faculty and student scholarship and to open new, global funding sources.

In response to an invitation from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, or INSERM—the French equivalent of the National Institutes of Health—and AVIESAN, the French Alliance for Life Sciences and Health, the Mailman delegation met with the Institute’s top scientific leadership to identify synergies in their respective research agendas. Five areas of interest emerged: the intersection of social and biological sciences and the role of the social sciences in promoting health; health inequalities and outcomes; health policy and law; immunological and biological mechanisms of vaccines; and aging. In a second set of meetings at the University of Paris, Sorbonne Paris Cité, the group meet with eminent quantitative scientists, mostly epidemiologists and biostatisticians.

Both conversations built on existing relationships and ongoing collaborations. The Atlantic Alliance for Public Health connects Mailman with France, particularly the EHESP French School of Public Health and the University of Paris Sorbonne Paris-Cité, with Master’s exchange programs already underway.

Creating opportunities for post-doctoral and doctoral students, and intellectual exchange between Paris and New York, were among the top goals to emerge from the meetings. While the Mailman School already has dynamic student exchanges with France, “there is potential for much more,” says Moïse Desvarieux, MD, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology, who directs the Atlantic Alliance and was a member of the Paris contingent.

Forging partnerships with institutions in the European Union and elsewhere is is also part of a broader effort to diversify the School's funding base and seek new opportunities for research support. And not least of all, the meetings portend fruitful public health scholarship relating to populations in France and neighboring countries.

“We are now a global school of public health. Thoughful work concerning patterns of disease, public health policy and practice, and around health outcomes, bridging the U.S. and the European continent, puts us on the cutting edge of critically important research,” says Ron Bayer, PhD, professor of Sociomedical Sciences and another member of the Mailman delegation. “These are opportunities to create avenues for faculty and student scholarship that otherwise would not exist.”