Representatives from the Indian and U.S. governments, along with diabetes experts from both countries, met during the Indo-U.S. Workshop on Innovative Approaches and Technologies for Diabetes Prevention and Management. Panelists included (from l) Dr. Rajiv Sharma, executive director, Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum; Dharitri Panda, senior financial advisor, Indian Council of Medical Research; Dr. Bela Shah, head, ICMR division on non-communicable diseases; ICMR director general Dr. V.M. Katoch, secretary, department of health research; NIDDK director Dr. Griffin Rodgers; Dr. Judith Fradkin, director, NIDDK Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases; and Steven T. Smith, health attaché and regional representative for South Asia, HHS, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi.
Photo: Indian Council of Medical Research
On Feb. 4-6, NIDDK and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), part of the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, held a scientific workshop to identify opportunities for collaboration between the two countries in high-priority diabetes research areas of joint interest. The workshop convened in New Delhi, India, with leadership from NIDDK, ICMR and the Fogarty International Center, along with diabetes experts from across the U.S. and India.
NIDDK director Dr. Griffin Rodgers showed a map illustrating the diabetes burden in the United States and India —about 26 million and 62 million people, respectively—to demonstrate the importance of joint efforts between the two countries. “A picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, millions,” he told workshop participants. “India and the United States possess complementary scientific strengths and other resources that can be applied to the challenge of diabetes.”
The meeting, titled “Indo-U.S. Workshop on Innovative Approaches and Technologies for Diabetes Prevention and Management,” comes after HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad signed a joint statement to collaborate on diabetes research in June 2012.
“If common solutions [developed through this initiative] are affordable, they would also be applicable globally,” said ICMR director general Dr. V.M. Katoch at the workshop.
Dr. Judith Fradkin, director of NIDDK’s Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, said the areas under study are ripe for collaborative efforts that could yield new understanding of diabetes in both populations. “Both countries have an interest in implementing findings through translational efforts—for example, technologies offer extraordinary promise to identify people with diabetes and to help them prevent complications,” she said.
Ideas generated in the workshop will help inform a planned initiative for NIDDK and ICMR to fund collaborative teams of U.S. and Indian diabetes researchers. Specifics will be announced later this year.—Eleanor Hoff and Amy Reiter