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Emory University receives historic $180 million research grant funding innovative efforts to prevent child mortality in developing countries

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Emory University today announced that the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance network (CHAMPS), a global health network headquartered in the Emory Global Health Institute, has been awarded the university’s largest-ever single research grant. Launched in 2015, CHAMPS collects and analyzes data to help identify the causes of child mortality in the places where it’s highest. This latest $180 million supplement brings the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s total investment in CHAMPS to $271 million and demonstrates its position as a critical tool for preventing child mortality around the world.

“Emory’s leadership of the CHAMPS program illustrates the commitment we have to leveraging our world-class scholarship, research and health care capabilities to have a global impact,” says Claire E. Sterk, president of Emory University. “The Gates Foundation’s historic investment will not only change children’s lives around the world, it also promises to provide unique opportunities for our faculty, researchers and students to make further advancements towards helping reduce global child mortality rates.”

Collaborating partners for CHAMPS include the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI), whose U.S. office is also based in the Emory Global Health Institute, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and Public Health Informatics Institute, a program of The Task Force for Global Health. In the seven countries where it currently operates, CHAMPS depends on partnerships with a diverse group of research institutes, universities, and ministries of health. 

“5.4 million children die every year from mostly preventable causes, the overwhelming majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia,” says Robert F. Breiman, MD, director of the Emory Global Health Institute and principal investigator for CHAMPS. “CHAMPS relies on diverse partnerships with research institutes, universities and health ministries in the countries where we work. The innovative surveillance and analysis being done by CHAMPS and its partners will catalyze evidence-driven interventions at the local, national and global levels that we believe can save the lives of millions of children.”

CHAMPS has established sites in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and South Africa, and will add two more in the program’s next phase. CHAMPS partners with governments and national public health institutes to prepare to use CHAMPS findings to better understand and prevent specific causes of disease in children under age five. CHAMPS’ inclusive, open access approach to data-sharing is designed to stimulate and incorporate creative new ideas to prevent child mortality.

“From its inception, CHAMPS has set new standards for sharing data,” says Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH, Emory University’s vice president for global health. “CHAMPS aims to bring the world the knowledge it needs to catalyze action that dramatically reduces early childhood death and disability.”

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