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Medical university of Southern africa

AMHERST, Mass. - The Amherst and Worcester campuses of the University of Massachusetts have been awarded a grant of $460, 000 to promote a partnership with the Medical University of Southern Africa. The grant is underwritten by the U.S. Agency for International Development through a contract with The College Fund/United Negro College Fund.

The announcement was made by UMass Amherst Provost Cora B. Marrett. Marrett added that John Cunningham, faculty advisor to the provost at UMass Amherst, is the principal investigator/project director for the grant.

Cunningham said: "This grant allows us to expand our many collaborative efforts with South Africa. It is especially exciting to be working with colleagues from the Worcester campus as well."

Called a Tertiary Education Linkage Project (TELP) grant, the grant extends through May 2003 and will fund efforts to promote teaching, research, and community services in health professions at the Medical University of Southern Africa.

Cunningham said the University was selected as a partner on the basis of a broad range of capabilities and shared interests with the Medical University of Southern Africa. He said the grant will be used to strengthen independent research at the medical university and to promote collaborative research and exchanges of faculty, staff, and students in three main areas:

* information technology, distance learning, teleconferencing, and telemedicine;

* administration, human resources and staff development, counseling and academic advising; and

* instructional technology, multimedia, and Web-based course production.

A number of departments, centers, and programs at both UMass Amherst and UMass Worcester will participate, Cunningham said. On the Amherst campus, these include: the departments of communication disorders, community health studies, and nutrition in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences; the Office of Information Technologies, especially its academic computing group; the Center for Computer-Based Instructional Technology (CCBIT) in the computer science department of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; the Video Instructional Program in the College of Engineering; the Staff Training and Development unit; and Academic Instructional Media Services.

The department of surgery at UMass Worcester will contribute expertise in telemedicine and medical conferencing. Dr. William C. Meyers, who chairs the surgical department, is co-investigator of the grant. Other UMass Worcester participants include the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education; the Center for International Health Professions Education; and the International Health Electives Program.

Cunningham said that several other ongoing or planned efforts aim to advance partnerships with historically disadvantaged tertiary education institutions in South Africa. A campus TELP Coordinating Committee has been formed by Marrett and will be chaired by Mzamo Mangaliso, an associate professor in the department of management in the Isenberg School of Management.

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