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By Dave Paiz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 11, 1998

Grant could make UA 'international employment agency'

A grant worth $59 million over five years could substantially broaden the UA's role on the world health stage.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is reviewing proposals from a small cluster of schools, including the University of Arizona, to train and place health advisers in development projects across the world.

"Think of us (the UA) as an international employment agency," said principal investigator Douglas Taren, an associate professor at the UA Prevention Center.

Under the proposed program, if a country like Kazakhstan were to request assistance in developing an AIDS prevention program, the inter-university Consortium for International Development would recruit people with technical skills and send them to the UA for an intensive training program. After completing the training, the UA would then assign the advisers to a USAID project located within the requesting country.

"We need to think about these things in the context of the culture we are going to," Taren said.

The program would give prospective advisers training in languages, administrative and medical procedures, and cultural norms and customs to prepare them for work in the host country.

"I think one of the more difficult aspects (of the proposal) is that it's broad in scope," Taren said.

Taren said USAID will consider each school's previous experience with international programs and select the proposal that promises to accomplish the most for the least amount of money.

President John F. Kennedy established USAID in 1961. The agency's official Web site describes USAID as "an independent federal government agency that conducts foreign assistance and humanitarian aid to advance the political and economic interests of the United States."

USAID's Center for Population, Health and Nutrition is exploring ways to "stabilize world population growth and protect human health" by addressing problems like child survival and the prevention of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

USAID operates development missions throughout the Americas, Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

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