Models for Collaboration

Articulate a vision.  Create a brand.  Be a team player.

Charles Van der HorstThese are just three of the 10 tips Charles Van der Horst shared in his presentation “How to be #1,” delivered at last week’s Cross Departmental Research Forum held by the Interdisciplinary Innovative Programs Hub for Global Public Health, or I2PH.

Van der Horst is a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, with a long and active portfolio in clinical trials for the treatment and prevention of HIV and opportunistic infections. He is also the principal investigator for a consortium of universities, including Tulane, which will develop and support training in global health research for the next generation of researchers, as part of the Fogarty Global Health Program.

Van der Horst shared the stage with Patricia Kissinger, Tulane professor of epidemiology, in a combined presentation on “Strategies for Building and Sustaining a Research Portfolio for the Long-Term,” the latest in a series designed to mentor and encourage faculty on the road to research success.

The I2PH was launched in January by Geetha Bansal, associate dean for research, to increase interdisciplinary research at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Using an incubator approach, the I2PH provides space for students, faculty, and staff to collaborate on innovative research projects, and also offers a variety of opportunities for networking, career development, and mentoring. 

Van-der-Horst-and-KissingerThe I2PH features 17 offices, two seminar rooms, and a board room, as well as informal seating areas and a break room. Offices and meeting space can be reserved on a temporary basis.  Reserving seminar or meeting space to  gather ideas and information for a grant submission or using offices for up to one year (renewable) at a time for new research just getting off the ground are just some of the creative uses of the I2PH space.

Laura Murphy, clinical associate professor of global health systems and development, has already made use of the I2PH. She reports that a team of faculty, program staff, and doctoral students met for a week to brainstorm ideas for a pre-proposal to USAID, and emerged with a concept for the Tulane Innovation Exchange, a university-wide initiative to scrutinize and disseminate social innovations through the Tulane campus and with regional hubs in Kenya and Peru. The space offered Murphy and her team a quiet, separate location to host people from around the university, away from the pull of the team’s busy regular offices.

In similar fashion, Nirbhay Kumar, chair of the Department of Tropical Medicine, brought together a team of faculty from within SPHTM as well as participants from the Tulane Primate Center, the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and LSU to brainstorm on a training grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health to provide support for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.

Interested faculty, post-doctoral fellows and doctoral students can learn more about the I2PH by visiting or contacting the Hub at


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