UW Today

This is an archived article.

December 1, 2010

Signature global health programs funded

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Interdisciplinary partnerships in global health are forged in radically new ways across campus and with international collaborators.

As part of its mandate to reach across campus to forge highly innovative, interdisciplinary partnerships, the Department of Global Health has awarded $3 million in funding to launch six new UW global health programs, involving at least 15 schools, colleges and departments on campus, as well as 20 institutions worldwide.

The winners among 41 applications are for the Center for Global Promotion of Womens and Childrens Health, the Global Medicines Program, a doctoral program in Implementation Science for Global Health, an African-based Diploma Course in Tropical Medicine and Global Health and initiatives on Climate Change and Global Health and Global Injury Control.

Enhancing expertise in maternal and child health at the University of Nairobi is one of the initiatives.

Enhancing expertise in maternal and child health at the University of Nairobi is one of the initiatives.

These signature programs will complement and expand the scope of the existing centers, institute and programs in the Department of Global Health, which focus primarily on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, infectious diseases, metrics and evaluation and health systems strengthening.

The new programs will look into maternal and child health, food and water security, prevention of road traffic accidents and other injuries, drug safety and policy, tropical medicine and evidence-based approaches to translate research findings into large-scale effective programs.The largest award will lead to the establishment of the Center for Global Promotion of Womens and Childrens Health, a collaboration among UWs departments of Global Health, Pediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynecology and institutions in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico and Peru. The center was given a new boost in October when the Director, Dr. Grace John-Stewart, a professor of medicine, epidemiology, pediatrics and global health, was part of a winning team awarded a $2.5 million Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) grant to build up the maternal child health expertise at the University of Nairobi.

Four awards will support promising interdisciplinary initiatives with potential to grow into self-sustaining centers or programs.

Climate Change and Global Health:  Adaptive Solutions for Human Health and the Environment, led by Thomas Hinckley, interim director of the School of Forest Resources, and Richard Fenske, associate chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, involves more than 25 collaborations on and off campus and could position University of Washington as having a major impact on climate change and global health.Global Injury Control, led by Dr. Charles Mock, a trauma surgeon with a PhD in epidemiology, and Dr. Beth Ebel, associate professor of pediatrics and adjunct associate professor in epidemiology, addresses one of the leading causes of death worldwide.  Mock was responsible for the World Health Organizations work in strengthening global trauma care before returning to UW and Ebel replaced Mock as the director of the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center.

Traffic injuries are a major cause of death and disability in developing nations, a trend researchers would like to reverse.

Traffic injuries are a major cause of death and disability in developing nations, a trend researchers would like to reverse.

An African-based Diploma Course in Tropical Medicine and Global Health is being developed in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Makerere University in Uganda and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College in Tanzania. This is the first diploma program in tropical medicine in Africa and already has admitted its first class of 22 students with three UW leaders involved. This initiative is led by Drs. Paul Pottinger, assistant professor of infectious diseases and director of the  UW Medical Center Antimicrobial Stewardship Program; David Roesel, clinical assistant professor in global health; and Christopher Sanford, clinical assistant professor in global health and acting assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine.

The final award for a Global Medicines Program will generate and disseminate new methods and knowledge to assess and improve the safe and rational use of medicines in resource-poor countries by attracting and integrating faculty and trainees from various fields, including public health, pharmacy, medicine, nursing and law. The program also aims to establish strong affiliations with global medicines stakeholders, including international organizations, drug developers, regulatory agencies and donor groups. This effort is being led by Drs. Andy Stergachis, a professor of epidemiology and global health and an adjunct professor in pharmacy and health services, and Lou Garrison, a professor of pharmacy and an adjunct professor of global health and health services.

These new signature programs were selected though an intensive solicitation and review process that started in May 2008 when a university-wide was released by the Department of Global Health. By the end of June 2008, the Department had received 41 proposals representing all 17 UW colleges and schools.

After a rigorous review process, 14 of the applicants were invited to submit full applications. By the end of September 2009, 11 full-length proposals were received.

Each proposal was assigned to a team of external reviewers with nationally recognized expertise in relevant areas. Discussions were held with then-Provost Phyllis Wise, School of Medicine Dean Paul Ramsey and former School of Public Health Dean Patricia Wahl, as well as the distinguished members of the Departments External Advisory Board.

The proposals given the highest scores involved multiple disciplines and a high likelihood of being self-sustaining.