The mission of the Sparkman Center for Global Health (Sparkman Center) at UAB is to contribute to solutions of health problems in developing countries through undergraduate and graduate-level public health education, research, and training programs. These programs are organized collaboratively with academic institutions, international agencies, and health ministries within the host country. Additionally, the Sparkman Center works to enhance the capacity of the UAB community to engage, prepare, and support current and future health professionals in a global health agenda.

The Sparkman Center will provide funding for internal grant applications that propose research projects, public health practice, and global health & development projects that support the Sparkman Center’s mission of promoting health in less developed countries. All projects should have a strong research or evaluation component. Only those applications that are aligned with the Sparkman Center mission will be considered for funding through this mechanism. We anticipate funding 3-5 applications of up to $20,000 each.



  1. UAB Faculty and fellows are elligible.
  2. Integration of early stage faculty with other UAB researchers and community partners/stakeholders to advance all pilot projects with the context of a team building approach.
  3. Preference given to those who have never had an R01 in global health field of study or who are new to global health research.
  4. Established investigators with an R01 in global health are elligible to apply if they are exploring a new direction. 
  5. All projects should have clear next steps in terms of future opportunities. 



1) Pre-Award Approvals

Funding will be awarded from the Sparkman Center Administrative Office. All questions regarding the awarding of funding should be directed to the contact listed in the notice of award. Prior to the awarding of funding, the following information must be provided, if applicable:

  • Institutional Review Board approvals, if applicable, must be obtained prior to receipt of an award, but are not required to submit an application. Prior to receipt of an award involving human subjects, IRB approval from all participating sites and human subjects training certification for all key personnel will be required.
  • For more information about human subjects approval, see: http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/ and http://www.uab.edu/research/administration/offices/irb/Pages/Home.aspx

2) Post-Award Requirements 

  • Applicants chosen for funding will be expected to present the details of their study at a Sparkman Center Seminar and/or the UAB CCTS PDQ Committee for review of the study. This will provide an opportunity to identify additional synergies within UAB and the Sparkman Center, explore other means of support, and gather recommendations to enhance the study. Other presentations, including a ‘research in progress talk’ (midway) and at the end of the funding period may also be requested.
  • Applicants will be requested to become UAB Sparkman Scholars with the potential to be matched with and mentor UAB students (Sparkman Fellows) working on global health projects.
  • Awardees will be required to submit yearly progress reports**. Awardees will be tracked after the award ends to monitor productivity (abstracts, publications, grants).
  • Support from this mechanism must be acknowledged in all publications and presentations.
  • If for any reason the awardee is unable to fulfill the requirements or adhere to the policies of the award, at the discretion of the funding mechanism leadership, the award may be revoked.

**All recipients of Sparkman Center funding are obliged to provide information, not limited to, progress reports or final performance reports, as requested by the Sparkman Center. Failure to provide such information in a prompt and timely manner may result in the immediate termination of the grant and will preclude the grantee from applying for future Sparkman Center funding opportunities.


Key Dates 


o RFA Released: December 1, 2018

o Deadline for 2-page Concept: February 1, 2019

o Full Application Applicants Announced: Mar 1, 2019

o Deadline for Full Applications: May 1, 2019

o Awards Announced: by May 31, 2019

o Funding Start: June 1, 2019


Application Information 

Concept Proposals

To apply for Sparkman Center funding please submit a Concept Proposal with the following information as a single combined PDF that is no more than 2 pages in length, as well as NIH biosketches for all investigators. Proposals should be submitted to Anna Helova at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Project Description

Outline the specific aims, hypotheses, brief preliminary data (if any), and brief research/evaluation design. As the criteria for funding are primarily based upon the scientific impact, investigator, significance, approach, and innovation, concepts should address these topic areas.

Combined Significance and Innovation Section

Briefly explain the importance/significance of the proposed project in the context of global health research that is promoted by agencies engaged in global health research. Describe the innovative nature of the proposal and how the proposed research will support the mission of the Sparkman Center and advance the field. Note the specific funding sources and mechanisms to be targeted with the results from this study, as well as the timeline for follow-on submissions.

Eligibility/Team Building Component (no more than one-half page)

The integration of junior faculty with other UAB researchers at various levels is required by the Sparkman Center to advance all pilot projects within the context of a team building approach. Requests for pilot funding from single investigators working alone will not be funded with Sparkman Center pilot project funds. The PI of the study should adhere to the eligibility requirements stated above. Co-investigators should include senior, junior, or early stage investigators constituting research teams. Involvement of community stakeholders in the global setting is also encouraged.

Investigators should clearly state how their proposed research will impact the UAB research environment, improve the UAB research infrastructure (e.g. facilitating access to methods, improved knowledge, enhanced ability to apply for common funding), and thereby facilitate future global health research by other UAB investigators.

Biosketches (Include one for each investigator)

All applicants and collaborators should submit NIH biosketches (5-page limit) with personal statements adapted to describe defined roles on the project. Use the NIH biosketch form.

Researchers whose concept proposals are selected for the full proposal competition phase will be notified by email.


Application Instructions 

Full Applications

Full Proposals will be submitted electronically in one Adobe PDF file to Anna Helova at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The full proposal will be on the forms used commonly for NIH grant applications (PHS 398 forms) and should follow a modified NIH investigator initiated grant application (R01) format.

For detailed instructions on how to fill out the forms see: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html with the following modifications. The Research Plan (Specific Aims through Approach) is limited to 4 pages (Bibliography and References Cited sections do not count toward the page limit). No appendices are allowed. Do not submit Targeted/Planned Enrollment Tables. Applications must be in English. Please note that applications that do not adhere to the instructions will not be considered.

The Full Proposal should include (in this order in a single Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) file):

  1. Complete budget and justification: (Download: MS Word or PDF)
  2. Research Plan (Maximum 4 pages for a-d below). Use PHS 398 Continuation Format pages (Download: MS Word or PDF).
  3. Specific Aims (suggested length ½ page)
  4. Significance (suggested length 1 page)
  5. Innovation (suggested length ½ page)
  6. Approach (suggested length 2 pages)
  7. Description of the Research Environment (suggested length ½ page). Use PHS 398 Continuation Format pages (Download: MS Word or PDF).
  8. Bibliography and References cited (as needed) Use PHS 398 Continuation Format pages (Download: MS Word or PDF).
  9. Protection of Human Subjects (if applicable; maximum 1 page). Use PHS 398 Continuation Format pages (Download: MS Word or PDF).
  10. Letters of Support (letters of support from collaborators essential to the proposed project must accompany the application).

Budget Development Guidelines and Restrictions (NIH budget form (Form page 5) with justification)

  • Maximum direct costs are $20,000. Indirect costs are not allowed. Awards are one year in length. One no-cost extension may be requested at the end of the first year budget period only.
  • Salary support is limited to 10% for the PI, unless special permission is received.
  • Budgeting for travel to project sites and conferences to present project research results is allowable (travel budget limited to no more than $7,000).
  • Costs associated with Institutional Review Board (IRB) review of human research protocols are not allowable as direct charges.
  • All costs must conform to the NIH Grants Policy Statement (GPS) and applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget OMB circulars for necessity and reasonability, allocability, conformance and consistency, as well as allowability. Please follow the link below to section 7.2 cost principles section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.


To access the full Sparkman Pilot Grant Funding Application click here or see below. 


Questions or more information? Please contact Anna Helova, UAB Sparkman Program Director; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., phone: (205) 975-7770


Dr. Craig Wilson completed a visit to programs in Zambia and Ethiopia just prior to the holidays.

In Ethiopia, Dr Wilson followed up on the education projects with the MOE and evaluated some new sites for installations of the SparkEd system.  He also attended the first meeting of the newly funded Health Professional Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI) with attendees from the Addis Ababa University, Dilla University, Wolaita University and Emory University.  

In Zambia, he met with this year’s awardees for the Moses Sinkala Research Award for UNZA graduate students.  This year’s awardees were: Alick Bwanga whose research topic is H. pylori infections in patients with gastric perforation, Alfred Chanda whose research topic is evaluation of uterotonic activity of an  extract of a traditional plant (Azanza garckeana) for possible medicinal use and Henry Mwanza who is looking at the knowledge and practices around autism spectrum disorders in Zambia. 


Pictured Above from L-R are Craig Wilson and Moses Sinkala Research Awardees: Alick Bwanga, Henry Mwanza, and Alfred Chanda



Pictured Above is the HEPI opening meeting at Bishoftu (one of the deepest and largest of the crater lakes in Ethiopia)



Pictured Above is Sebeta Secondary School



Pictured Above is a student changeover. This school has around 2500 students in grades 9 and 10, and they need to come to two shifts each day because the facility is not large enough. 


Congratulations to Doctoral Student Liza Kimbo!


Liza has been invited as panelist at the 15th International Conference on Urban Health (ICUH) in Kampala, Uganda from November26-30, 2018.

In addition to being a Health Care Organization and Policy student, Liza is also the Director of LiveWell Ltd in Nairobi, Kenya and will be representing LiveWell in the Cities as Economic Engines Plenary Session 4. This session will discuss the movement of capital – both human and financial – and how it is changing the face of urban health. Additionally, this subtheme will examine how the movement of money and people into and out of urban areas contributes to the health of urban and peri-urban dwellers and will also include attention to the role of local and multinational business entities with invested interests in urban health, and how mutually productive partnerships can go beyond CSR and charity.

Liza will sit on the panel alongside with Mr. Aromar Revi, Director of Indian Institue for Human Settlements in India; Mr. Studar Mwesigwa, Director of Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) in the United Kingdom, and Mr. Steffen Nielsen, Director of Cities Changing Diabetes, Novo Norsdisk in Denmark. Chair Dr. Yonette Thomas, Executive Director of International Society for Urban Health will also be present.

ICUH Liza Panel


The theme for the International Society for Urban Health (ISUH) ICUH this year is Managing Urbanisation for Health: A Priority for all Nations.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) have set a monumental task for the world, with a first-ever focus on the challenges and opportunities associated with urban areas. In developing economies, many urban challenges are compounded by the threat of climate change, by widespread informal settlements, and by the long-term health effects of the built environment. Across all nations, the challenge of effectively managing the process of urbanisation to prevent disease and improve health outcomes presents a critical challenge. Achieving the NUA and the SDGs in urban areas requires ownership of these agendas not only at the national level, but also at the local and individual level. ICUH 2018 provides an opportunity for practitioners, academics, communities, and policymakers from all levels to share knowledge and learning from around the world to help stimulate effective management of our urban areas for health and health equity.

The conference has identified six critical sub-themes that must be addressed to maximise the positive impact of urbanisation and create cities that promote health in all settings where people live, work, play, and learn:

1.The Governance of Complex Systems

  1. Culture and Inclusivity
  2. Disasters, Epidemics, and the Unexpected
  3. Cities as Economic Engines
  4. Safety, Security, and Justice
  5. Spiritual Health in the City

Please click here or below to view the full conference program and more information about the conference. Liza is featured on page 54. 

Dr. Craig Wilson former director of the Sparkman Center for Global Health was recently awarded Emeritus status at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology.

Dr. Wilson joined the School of Public Health in 2007 from the School of Medicine to serve as the Director of the Sparkman Center for Global Health until he recently stepped down in Spring 2018. Dr. Wilson has nearly 30 years of experience in international and global health programs, over 20 years of experience in a leadership role in HIV management and prevention in HIV infected and at-risk youth in the US, and served for the past 15 years on the NIH Division of AIDS Strategic Working Group and from 2011 -2016 on the Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council. He has also served as a Professor of Epidemiology, Pediatrics and Microbiology at the UAB School of Public Health.

Dr. Wilson has an extensive background in HIV related capacity building programs in sub-Saharan Africa. He was the Co-Director of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) at the University of Zambia as well as the Zambia Education Partnership for Advanced Care and Treatment from 2011-2016. He also works with the leadership of the MEPI program at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia to identify and disseminate e-learning tools and development of research capacity. Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia was also recently awarded the Fogarty International Center’s Health-Professional Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI), 2018-2023. This award will help provide $22 million over five years seven countries to further strengthen the health care and research workforce in sub-Saharan Africa through a new program funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). To read more about this click here.

Congratulations, Dr. Wilson!

Craig Wilson Award Article