UW Today

September 16, 2011

Mapping Study shows UW a major leader of global health in the state with projects in 93 countries

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

In a recently released study, the University of Washington emerges as one of the major leaders of global health in Washington state.

Department of Global Health Pathway medical student Elizabeth Clark in Peru, one of many countries where the UW has a global health impact.

Department of Global Health Pathway medical student Elizabeth Clark in Peru, one of many countries where the UW has a global health impact.

According to the study, the respondents have 2,503 projects and initiatives in 156 countries and employ nearly 3,000 workers in Washington and 17,275 out of state. These organizations also have connections to more than 1,570 partners in 111 countries.  The top seven countries where Washington organizations have a presence are Kenya, India, Tanzania, China, Uganda, Haiti and Ethiopia.

The UW is the largest employer of global health employees in the state (471) and third largest globally (755). In addition, UW is involved in the highest number of countries (93) and conducts the second highest number of projects (396). The UWs strongest presence is in Kenya and Peru.

“Our goal in the global health arena is to address the causes of and help provide solutions for disparities in health around the globe, and to enable our international partners to achieve sustainable and independent control of their global health programs, “said Michael Young, University of Washington President. “We believe closing the gap between those who experience relatively good health in their countries and those who live in countries that do not is an important part of our mission as a globally focused public research university.”

The UW data that went into the report came from two major sources – the University of Washington Department of Global Health, which reported on 300 projects, and 52 faculty who responded to a campus-wide survey of global health projects and reported on 96 projects.

The study follows up on a 2009 survey by the Washington Global Health Alliance and is the first to quantify the scope of the global-health sector in the state, including faith-based groups and for-profit companies.

“People don’t realize just how much breadth of work we’re doing, how far our reach is,” Vajra Allan, a program administrator for the Washington Global Health Alliance, said to the Seattle Times (Sept. 14, 2011).

Of the nearly 3,000 employees in the state, more than half – 1,676 – work in Seattles South Lake Union neighborhood.

The report was made possible using grants from the Department of Commerce, We Work for Health Washington, and the Washington Global Health Fund. While the project does not fully encompass the extent of global health work happening across the state, it significantly expands on a 2009 study.

In an effort to quantify the global health work across campus, the UW Department of Global Health, UW External Affairs, UW Office of Global Affairs and UW Center for Commercialization collaborated on a survey. These groups are now working to expand the mapping project by the UW Department of Global Health to encompass global health work beyond the Department of Global Health.

For the results of the mapping study, go to wghalliance.org. For press coverage on the mapping study, see State groups work toward global health (Seattle Times, Sept. 14) and Slideshow: What global health work means to Washington state (Puget Sound Business Journal, Sept. 14).