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Providing the Missing Pieces to the Global Health Puzzle
Global health encompasses everything from obesity in the United States to malaria and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa to the HIV/AIDS epidemic worldwide. It is the worldwide study of disease and treatment and the search for cures.

The new UW institute evaluates and measures the effectiveness of health systems so that health care can be provided to the greatest number of people. Chris Murray and Emmanuela Gakidou, director of education and training for the institute, hold faculty positions in the UW Department of Global Health for their teaching duties. An international board, headed by Julio Frenk, former health minister of Mexico, Gates Foundation senior fellow and longtime collaborator with Murray, will oversee the institute.

“The institute is a unique resource for rich and poor countries,” Frenk says. “It fills a missing piece in the global health architecture as an independent source to document what’s happening on the ground.”

The institute will focus on three main areas:

Health monitoring: Collecting and analyzing data on health indicators and trends, such as the prevalence of major diseases and the availability of health services.

Program evaluation: Conducting independent, rigorous evaluations of the results and effectiveness of health programs.

Dissemination: Making health data and information freely available to decision-makers, researchers and the public.

When fully operational, the institute will consist of 130 faculty and staff. It will also establish an international network of collaborating research centers, and provide fellowships to train junior researchers. Also in the works are a master’s program in health metrics and eventually a doctoral program in that field.

“When we wrote the grant for the Gates Foundation, we had to list what we would do in 10 years,” Gakidou says. “That was overwhelming. But you need challenge to be creative.”—Elizabeth Lowry