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Peace Corps, PEPFAR and Global Health Service Corps Launch Public-Private Partnership to Boost Training for Health Professionals in Developing Countries

Program expected to launch in three sub-Saharan African countries

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 13, 2012 The Peace Corps, the U.S. Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the Global Health Service Corps are launching an innovative public-private partnership to place nurses, physicians and other health professionals as adjunct faculty in medical or nursing schools overseas. The Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) will address health professional shortages by investing in capacity and building support for existing medical and nursing education programs in less developed countries. The new program is expected to begin in Tanzania, Malawi and Uganda in July 2013. Participants will serve in the Peace Corps Response program for one-year assignments.

Through this exciting new partnership, the Peace Corps will supply medical and nursing professionals to help developing countries strengthen their public health systems, said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. By building on the Peace Corps model of grassroots assistance, as well as our existing infrastructure in developing countries, we will work with medical and nursing schools to build capacity, bring critical prevention and health care to remote communities and provide additional service opportunities for Americans.

The Global Health Service Partnership is an innovative initiative to address the need for health care professionals in countries hard-hit by HIV/AIDS, said U.S. Global AIDS Coordination Ambassador Eric Goosby. Country ownership with partner countries leading the way in the fight against AIDS depends on countries having strong health systems, and that in turn depends on a strong health workforce. PEPFAR is proud to partner with Peace Corps in supporting countries efforts to save the lives of their own people.

The shortage of health professionals is profound in many areas of the world, and sadly worst where the global burden of disease is highest, said Global Health Service Corps Executive Director and Mass General physician, Vanessa Bradford Kerry. These shortages limit the ability of developing countries to deliver even basic health care let alone respond to new, unforeseen epidemics. There is great interest among US health professionals who have both the commitment and expertise to serve abroad and help make a difference. The GHSP helps harness this dedication by strengthening existing nursing and medical education programs to create a force multiplier effect.

Under the new partnership, GHSP volunteers will primarily function as medical or nursing educators, working alongside local faculty counterparts to teach and transfer clinical skills. Volunteers will also participate in direct medical care appropriate to effective education and mentorship.

The Global Health Service Corps will make significant contributions to the program by raising awareness of GHSP among qualified professionals, and by providing technical support to the program, its volunteers and the teaching institutions overseas. It will help evaluate the effectiveness of the partnership deployments, responding to meet the particular needs of each clinical site. Consulting staff include senior global health leaders who are skilled and experienced in health care delivery, medical education and patient care quality in resource poor settings. It will also, independently of the Peace Corps, raise funds from the private sector to finance loan repayment stipends for eligible volunteers.

GHSP volunteers will receive the same benefits as Peace Corps Response volunteers, including: monthly living stipends, transportation to and from their country of service, comprehensive medical care, readjustment allowances and vacation days. They will also receive additional technical training and support and may extend service for a second year if successful during the initial year.
In January 2012, Peace Corps announced the expansion of the Peace Corps Response program, allowing experienced professionals to serve in short-term, high-impact Peace Corps assignments in dozens of countries around the world. The GHSP partnership is part of this Peace Corps expansion.
The application process for the GHSP volunteers is expected to begin in September 2012 through the Peace Corps Response online application.

About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agencys mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

About PEPFAR: The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the U.S. Government initiative to help save the lives of people affected by HIV/AIDS around the world. PEPFAR is the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease internationally and PEPFAR investments also provide a platform for efforts to address other public health needs. PEPFAR is driven by a shared responsibility among donor and partner nations and others to make smart investments to save lives. For more information, visit www.pepfar.gov.

About the Global Health Service Corps (GHSC): The GHSC is a national non-profit whose mission is to support health professionals to serve in medical, nursing, and public health education in resource-poor settings. Our greater goal is, in collaboration with our partners, to create sustainable solutions to strengthen health systems and address the vast shortages of health professionals in many parts of the world. GHSC believes educators provide a force multiplier effect. GHSC is committed to helping recruit the best-qualified candidates, including those who may have financial constraints to service, by raising and disbursing loan repayment and other appropriate stipends of support to individuals chosen for assignments abroad. Visit www.globalhealthservicecorps.org for more information.

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