Grand Challanges

The Oxford Health Alliance has conducted a study with the McLoughlan-Rotman Center (University of Toronto), Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Medical Research Council (UK) and National Institutes of Health (USA) to identify the Grand Challenges in Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, which will focus attention on the diseases, risk factors and possible approaches to address these conditions, including prevention, diagnosis and treatment options.

Click here >> to read the article in Nature

Click here >> to read the Grand Challenges in Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases
Click here >> for the methodology
Click here >> for a press release
Click here >> for press coverage

Based on a modified model used to identify the Grand Challenges in Global Health, an initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and partners, the Grand Challenges in Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases asked a large Panel of international experts the following question: What do you think are the Grand Challenges in Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases?

For the purposes of this study we define Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases as:

Diseases or conditions that occur in, or are known to affect, individuals over an extensive period of time and for which there are no known causative agents that are transmitted from one affected individual to another. For the purpose of this study the major focus is on cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and certain cancers. Commonly known risk factors for these include lack of exercise, improper diet and smoking.

We define a Grand Challenge as:

A specific critical barrier that if removed would help to solve an important health problem. The intervention(s) it could lead to might be innovative and, if successfully implemented, will have a high likelihood of impact and feasibility.

This study was carried out using the Delphi methodology, which uses a semi-structured process of building group consensus on a specific judgment issue through 3 rounds of email interactions with an International Panel of experts. Round 1 was focused on content acquisition and problem identification while the subsequent two rounds were devoted to consensus building. This method has been used by the University of Toronto on a number of previous studies >>

Throughout the three rounds, responses were received from more than 120 International Panel Members. Members of our panel included recognised chronic non-communicable disease stakeholders including policymakers, NGOs, businesses, youth, academics and researchers. Special consideration was given based on gender and geographical distribution. An Executive Committee and a Scientific Board were also established for this study to provide guidance and validate the panel’s findings.

Click here >> to see the Committee and Board.
Click here >> to see the Panel of experts.

The three rounds of the Delphi process resulted in a final list of 20 Grand Challenges, which the Executive Committee and Scientific Board grouped together under six priority goals. Research requirements for reaching these goals were also identified.

Click here >> to read the Grand Challenges.

An article summarising the research process and outcomes was published in Nature magazine in the 22 November 2007 issue. To read the commentary, click here >>

Next steps

The Grand Challenges Global Partnership is being established with a secretariat at the Oxford Health Alliance, funded for the first five years by OxHA members. The founding partners are OxHA, Medical Research Council (UK), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Indian Council of Medical Research and the Ovations Chronic Disease Initiative. The Partnership is intended as a platform for collaboration of global research funding organisations. An advocacy programme to be developed will encourage adoption of the Challenges and Goals.

The result of the Grand Challenges in Chronic Non-communicable Diseases will be of great value for the future prevention and management of CNCDs by informing people and organisations involved in implementing health-related interventions and those funding health-related research.