The global health of neurological conditions - or simply put, ‘global neurology’ - is an emerging field of study and action, with the burden of conditions like stroke and epilepsy universally affecting countries around the world. Moreover, it is relatively well established in the literature that these neurological conditions are often disproportionately affecting patients in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).
Yet, our understanding of the epidemiology and clinical manifestations of neurological conditions in LMIC settings is severely lackluster, which can partly be attributed to the shortage of neurology research in these settings compared to countries and regions with more research funding and robust neurological workforce.
In this regard, the field of global neurology encounters several hindering pain points that impede its progress towards a better understanding of the impact of neurological disease and illness on patients around the world. For one, there is a pressing need for increased international collaboration between researchers and clinicians, particularly involving those based in LMICs. Limited collaboration ultimately inhibits the exchange of knowledge, resources, and expertise required to address diverse challenges in the realm of neurology worldwide. By facilitating greater collaboration, we can ensure that local communities in need are encompassed in future research efforts, promote capacity building, and address financial limitations in conducting innovative research in LMIC settings.
In this context, it is of note that such an approach will not only serve communities based in LMICs. Fostering collaborative partnerships between researchers across the globe will allow us to gain valuable insights and a more holistic picture in terms of epidemiology, risk factors, and unique challenges faced by different populations impacted by neurological conditions. Moreover, while providing support, training, and technological advancements to enhance local capacities, researchers from high-income countries can also learn from the experiences and innovative solutions developed by their counterparts in LMICs.
This inclusive research environment encourages the exploration of new avenues and the identification of culturally relevant solutions, which can significantly impact the quality of care and outcomes for patients globally. International collaboration not only advances scientific knowledge but also promotes equity and social justice. By empowering researchers in LMICs, we can bridge the gap in neurology research and ensure that underserved populations are not left behind in the pursuit of improved neurological care.
Further, many neurology trainees and students of all corners of the world are eager to contribute to these ongoing global neurology research efforts. But these opportunities are often hard to come by, for reasons such as lack of outreach and awareness along with limited access to research investigators. It is critically important to involve trainees and students in our research efforts – they are the future of global neurology after all. Inspired young minds have the potential to cultivate innovative projects and programs that will help shape the field's trajectory. By addressing these challenges head-on, building robust networks, and enhancing awareness, we can unlock the untapped potential of trainees and pave the way for a thriving global neurology community.
With these pain points in mind, the World Neurology Foundation has launched the Global Neurology Research Hub, which serves as an online platform that showcases research projects and programs in the field of neurology from all around the world. It provides a centralized platform where researchers, healthcare professionals, and organizations can connect and collaborate to advance research in neurology and its subspecialties.
Limited collaboration ultimately inhibits the exchange of knowledge, resources, and expertise required to address diverse challenges in the realm of neurology worldwide.
The platform is open-access and offers a comprehensive database of ongoing, upcoming, and completed research projects, as well as clinical, educational, outreach, and teaching programs. By featuring innovative projects and programs, the Global Neurology Research Hub aims to accelerate progress in the field of global neurology and ultimately improve the lives of people affected by neurological conditions.
“The Global Neurology Research Hub is set to be the thriving epicenter where neurology researchers worldwide converge, providing a gateway to create meaningful impact across nations,” says Tirtha Sawant, MD, who has taken charge in the outreach efforts of the Global Neurology Research Hub.
The World Neurology Foundation's Global Neurology Research Hub serves as a pivotal platform, connecting researchers and organizations worldwide, accelerating progress, and ultimately improving the lives of individuals affected by neurological conditions. Together, we can create meaningful impact across borders and advance the blossoming field of global neurology.
The Global Neurology Research Hub platform can be accessed at www.worldneurology.com/gnrh. If you are a researcher and would like to add your projects to the database, you can do so at https://bit.ly/46SgAbU.
Soonmyung A. Hwang is the Program Director of the World Neurology Foundation and is also currently an MD/MPH candidate at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. He completed his undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University with General and Departmental Honors, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Public Health Studies. Soonmyung’s academic and research interests lie at the intersection of neurology, global health and digital health technology. Throughout his academic career, he has published four peer-reviewed articles in the research literature, and has presented thirteen abstracts at national and international conferences.
Tirtha Sawant, MD is a Program Associate at the Global Neurology Research Hub, an initiative within the World Neurology Foundation. Holding an MD degree from Spartan Health Sciences University in Saint Lucia, Tirtha's academic achievements earned her a coveted spot on the Dean's List. Her professional focus encompasses neurology, global health, and medical education. Notably, Tirtha's contributions to the field include three peer-reviewed articles, and she is currently engaged in advanced Ultrasound research, further enhancing her impact in the domain.
Shane Kim, BS is a Program Associate of the World Neurology Foundation. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University with General and Departmental Honors, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience. Shane’s professional and research interests encompass neuroimaging, neurology, urology, and global health. Throughout his academic career, Shane has published one peer-reviewed paper, presented two abstracts at national and international conferences, and holds two published patents.