About the Consortium

The VECD Consortium comprises four outstanding institutions – Vanderbilt (V), Emory (E), Cornell (C), and Duke (D) – with decades-long global partnerships with premier LMIC research

institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Collectively, VECDor’s well-funded research portfolio encompasses diverse and complementary topics in all relevant communicable and non-communicable diseases. VECDor institutions and faculty have a long history of global engagement, investigative accomplishment, and mentoring excellence, as demonstrated by high-impact global health discoveries by VECD trainees.

The VECD international partners are themselves outstanding research institutions based in low- and middle-income countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zambia). All sites conduct NIH-supported research and training and have published extensively in major journals.

Program Leadership:


Sten H. Vermund, MD, PhD was named the inaugural Amos Christie Chair in Global Health and the Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) in 2005. His primary appointment as Professor of Pediatrics (boarded) is complemented by joint appointments in Preventive Medicine (boarded), Medicine, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. His focus on clinical and public health research and training in LMICs provides him with broad working experience encompassing diverse populations with health issues related to tropical and infectious disease and public health on a global scale. Dr. Vermund’s current NIH- and CDC-funded clinical research and public health service programs open opportunities for U.S. trainees upon their return home. Dr. Vermund also has a substantial network of international collaborators comprised of former grantees (from his time working at the NIH), students, and fellows, as well as AITRP, IMCHRT, FICRS, and ICOHRTA trainees. He has published more than 360 articles and chapters, two-thirds of which were with his American and international student trainees.

Douglas C. Heimburger, MD, MS is a Professor of Medicine and the Associate Director for Education and Training at VIGH. From 1982 to 2009, Dr. Heimburger served in the Departments of Nutrition Sciences and Medicine at UAB, where his titles included Associate Director of the UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health; Senior Scientist in the UAB Clinical Nutrition Research Center, Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Center for AIDS Research; and Director of the NIH-funded Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program (CPCTP) and the Clinical Nutrition Fellowship Program. Dr. Heimburger moved to VIGH in 2009 to focus on global health education and international research. With Dr. Vermund, he led the FICRS-F Support Center at Vanderbilt and shared senior faculty responsibility for Vanderbilt’s AITRP with Dr. Vermund and Benjamin Chi (CIDRZ). Dr. Heimburger has served on the Fogarty Advisory Board, Initial Review Group Subcommittee G for the NCI, and the U.S. FDA Food Advisory Committee, and has developed test materials for the US Medical Licensing Examination.

Xiao Ou Shu, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Epidemiology within the Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health.  Dr. Shu is a renowned chronic disease research investigator who has more than $2.5 M per year in grant funds as the PI for Shanghai-based research in Breast Cancer Survival: Lifestyle and Genetic Determinants; Cohort Study of Cancer-Inhibitory Dietary Factors in Men; and Soyfood, Gene Polymorphisms & Endometrial Cancer Risk. She is also PI of the Vanderbilt-Shanghai Chronic Disease Research Training Program (FIC D43) and served as a FICRS-F site director and mentor.  Her work focuses on nutritional and genetic risk factors for cancer, as well as risk for heart disease and other chronic diseases.