Global Health

June 21, 2022

Aliyu named director of Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health

Renowned physician-epidemiologist Muktar Aliyu, MBBS, MPH, DrPH, who is the associate director for Research with the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH), has been named the new director of the institute, beginning July 1.

Renowned physician-epidemiologist Muktar Aliyu, MBBS, MPH, DrPH, who is the associate director for Research with the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH), has been named the new director of the institute, beginning July 1.

Muktar Aliyu, MD, DrPH

Aliyu, who joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2009, is professor of Health Policy and Medicine at Vanderbilt and professor of Family and Community Medicine at Meharry Medical College. In his current roles at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, he has been pivotal in guiding VIGH into capacity-building partnerships that deepen existing research ties with key partners in Nigeria and Ghana. His research priorities include improving access to sustainable, high-quality HIV/AIDS services in resource-constrained settings.

“Over the past year, we conducted an international search to identify a new director for the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. We interviewed a wide array of competitive candidates, and I am delighted that our top candidate, Dr. Muktar Aliyu, accepted the position,” said Russell Rothman, MD, MPP, Senior Vice President, Population and Public Health, and director, Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health. “Dr. Aliyu will also be the first holder of the Endowed Directorship in Global Health to support his efforts. His leadership and vision are already woven into VIGH as he has been on the leadership team at VIGH since 2013, and has served as the associate director for Research since 2014. I am excited to see where this next era takes VIGH.”

Formed in 2005 to spearhead international health initiatives, the VIGH is a strong collaborator with local research and health organizations. It currently has 16 core faculty, 80 affiliated faculty and 100 annual student and trainee engagements. Core and affiliated faculty have global projects totaling over $100 million in funding to conduct research, scholarship and training in countries around the world. Aliyu will succeed Edwin Trevathan, MD, MPH, the Amos Christie Professor of Global Health and professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, who is stepping down to focus on his global health research and capacity-building initiatives.

VIGH leads interdisciplinary global health education and training programs, conducts clinical and translational research in communicable and non-communicable diseases affecting low- and middle-income countries and uses implementation science and quality improvement to advance the effectiveness and efficiency of health care delivery in these settings.  VIGH investigators, researchers and faculty receive funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, U.S. Agency for International Development and other sources for research and training related to HIV, tuberculosis, mental health, delirium, biostatistics, maternal and child health, medical anthropology, nutrition, informatics and epidemiology, and other issues, partnering with communities in Central America, South America, Africa and Asia.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how globally interconnected we are, as well as the importance of collaboration and using scientific research to foster health and prosperity. The mission of VIGH is to improve health and resources for everyone and to ensure that learning flows between institutions to boost communities and people into better health, no matter where they live. I am proud of VIGH’s impact and look forward to expanding its reach and outcomes,” said Aliyu.

Aliyu is the principal investigator on several major research and training grants from the NIH and has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles in his primary research area of HIV and maternal and child health.

Aliyu is one of two faculty members of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine among 80 physician-scientists inducted last year into the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), an elite honor society of physician-scientists from the upper ranks of academic medicine and industry. He also serves on the Lancet Commission for Nigeria, on journal editorial boards, and on NIH study sections. He holds leadership positions in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program and in the occupational medicine residency program at Meharry Medical College.

Aliyu was born and raised in Nigeria. After completing his medical school training in Nigeria, he came to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies in public health. He completed an MPH in epidemiology and biostatistics at George Washington University, and a doctorate in public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He then completed a residency in occupational medicine at Meharry Medical College, and a fellowship in preventive medicine at Mayo Clinic. Since then, he has dedicated his career to the practice of global health and to the scientific and humanitarian advancement of the field through research, service and training.