The Trans-Institutional Programs (TIPs) initiative aims to foster collaboration among schools, researchers and students at Vanderbilt. It is the centerpiece of the 2013-14 Academic Strategic Plan. The investment of $50 million will fund programs devoted to discovery and learning with an “interdisciplinary” and “multidisciplinary” approach that address society’s most pressing problems. The program launched in November of 2014. Seventeen projects were selected from 64 proposals, three of them include VIGH core faculty.

The Vanderbilt Pre3 Initiative (Preventing Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes and Prematurity)

School of Medicine: David Aronoff, Muktar Aliyu, Katherine Hartmann, John Jeffrey Reese

Peabody College: Kimberly Bess, Sharon Shields, Carol Nixon

School of Engineering: Frederick Haselton

Annually, more than 100 million pregnancies experience a major complication. In the United States, Tennessee is one of the states most affected by this problem. Pregnancy complications not only contribute to poor health during infancy, but are recognized as risk factors for chronic illnesses in adults. The Vanderbilt Pre3 Initiative represents a trans-institutional team of faculty and trainees dedicated to reducing the burden of adverse pregnancy outcomes with a special focus on prematurity. Faculty from across Vanderbilt are collaborating in teaching, discovery and implementation of new knowledge to improve maternal-child health through research, education and outreach. The opportunities and challenges around reducing premature delivery and improving outcomes for children and their families are immense and the Pre3 Initiative will serve as a base from which to build Vanderbilt into a world leader in improving maternal and newborn health.

A Multi-disciplinary Approach to Assessing Healthcare in Brazil

College of Arts & Science: Marcio Bahia, Celso Thomas Castilho, Marshall Eakin, Edward Fischer, Jane Landers, Elizabeth Zechmeister

School of Medicine: Timothy Sterling, Jessica Castilho, Catherine McGowan, Troy Moon, Sten Vermund, C. William Wester

Owen School of Graduate Management: Bart Victor

Central Library: Paula Covington

Health is closely linked with social, political, and economic conditions. Yet, scholars and health care professionals often focus on quantity of interventions rather than the holistic quality of impact. International organizations (e.g. USAID) have recognized the critical impact of multidimensional determinants on health and disease. Still lacking, however, is an integrated approach to measuring and evaluating the impact of public health interventions from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The most populous country in Latin America with an emerging economy and diverse, complex society, Brazil, is an important and model setting to study such questions. Vanderbilt University is uniquely poised to be a global leader in shaping this conversation due to a nucleus of expertise found only at Vanderbilt, through its renowned faculty in infectious diseases and global health (specifically in HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis), Brazilian studies, and survey research. Vanderbilt´s historic strengths in Brazilian studies have provided a competitive edge in recent NIH grant applications focused on Brazil and Portuguese-speaking African countries such as Mozambique, the repeated success of the Center for Latin American Studies in securing competitive U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center grants, and in securing multiple grants on race, inequality, and access to health from the U.S/Brazil Initiative.

The Laboratories for Innovation in Global Health Technologies (LIGHT)

School of Engineering: Rick Haselton, Cynthia Paschal

College of Arts & Science: David Wright, David Cliffel

School of Medicine: David Aronoff, Oscar Gomez, Doug Heimburger

Diagnostic methods for global health are critical. Existing methods fail to meet the need, either because they are not accessible to health care workers in the developing world or because they are not affordable. A major challenge is to translate research into affordable technologies at the periphery of the health care system. Developing cost-effective diagnostic tests for use in low resource settings requires technology developers to engage with the clinical needs of the patients at early stages in product development. The Laboratories for Innovation in Global Health Technologies (LIGHT) brings together faculty from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, 9 Engineering and Medicine to address these challenges. LIGHT will focus on the development of affordable, portable, easy-to-use diagnostics with a user-oriented perspective that focuses on the needs of those with the greatest burden of disease. Research and coursework will be integrated to train a generation of undergraduate and graduate students with the skills and motivation to bring health care advances to patients with the greatest need for them.