UW News

January 27, 2014

‘Achieving Health for All’ is topic of 38th Annual Faculty Lecture Feb . 6

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Steve Gloyd

Dr. Stephen Gloyd, second from left, in Côite d’Ivoire in 2011, founded Health Alliance International in 1987. The nonprofit works with the ministries of health of Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, Timor-Leste and Sudan to strengthen primary health care.

Great progress has been made in easing suffering around the world. HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence, polio is almost contained, guinea worm is being wiped out, malaria is decreasing and childhood mortality is dropping. But achieving real equity in accessing health care will take more than idealism, money, and control of diseases.

It will take political will to support policies that favor the poor and working class, according to Dr. Stephen Gloyd, UW professor of global health and health services. Gloyd will deliver  the 38th Annual University Faculty Lecture at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb.  6 in Kane Hall Room 130. His talk is  titled, “Achieving Health for All in the 21st Century: Globalization, Growing Inequity and Creative Responses.”  The talk is free and open to all. A reception will follow in the Walker Ames Room.

In conjunction with the Office of the Provost, members of the UW faculty choose one of their peers to deliver the University Faculty Lecture. This award honors faculty whose research, scholarship or art has been widely recognized by their colleagues  and whose achievements have had a substantial impact on their profession and perhaps on society as a whole.

Gloyd joins a distinguished roster of Nobel laureates, historians, artists, scientists and authors who have presented this series each year since 1976. On choosing his topic, Gloyd said,  “This is the most important topic in global health right now. We are doing a fabulous job as a global health community, especially at the UW and in Seattle, in developing new technologies around HIV, malaria and other diseases. But we are not addressing the really important issues involving determinants of equity – education, jobs income, nutrition, water and sanitation.”

Gloyd said that many U.S. government policies are actually making it harder for people in poor countries to access public services, because these policies have imposed austerity measures and unfair trade agreements.  Some policies, he said, undermine local efforts to combat unequal power relationships.

Gloyd  with grads

Stephen Gloyd, third from right, with Department of Global Health graduates in 2013, directs the M.P.H. and Ph.D. programs in the department.

Gloyd’s lecture will look at these policies systematically. In most of sub-Saharan Africa for example, Gloyd said, austerity measures  to reign in debt have crippled the government’s efforts to support the poor and working class. The government ends up cutting education, social safety nets, pensions and salaries. Gloyd said free trade has tied the hands of low-income countries who want to regulate sweatshops and create safer conditions for workers. The United States, he said, continues its history of targeting leaders who promote equity, for example, in Guatemala, Angola, Honduras and Venezuela, and has engaged in ways of overthrowing these leaders.

“The specifics of these policies are very clear and very well-documented,” he said.

Gloyd’s lecture will look at creative responses to assuring greater equity, such as rethinking trade policies, supporting living wages and decreasing military campaigns.

Gloyd said these issues have been largely ignored by the global health community because they are “inconvenient” and require  taking a stand that is anti-corporate and that questions the motives of U.S. foreign policy.

He will also discuss why he believes achieving equity is more possible than ever before. One reason, he said, is that the UW Department of Global Health has graduated hundreds of students who understand these issues and are now working in more than 30 countries. Many of these graduates hold high-level positions.

A native of Seattle, Gloyd did his residency at the UW and became a faculty member in 1986. He was also active in promoting Zimbabwean music and sending material aid to Mozambique.  These interests  lead to his initial work there with the Ministry of Health in the late 1970s and 80s.

In 1987, he founded Health Alliance International. This nonprofit organization has worked for decades in solidarity with the ministries of health of Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire, Timor-Leste and Sudan to strengthen primary health care and to improve approaches to global health assistance.  Health Alliance International, now a center in the Department of Global Health, played a key support role for the Mozambique government to make AIDS treatment universal and free throughout  its  country.

Gloyd is associate chair for education and curriculum in the UW’s Department of Global Health, where he directs the M.P.H, and Ph.D. programs.

Gloyd received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public health from Harvard University and his medical degree from the University of Chicago. His many awards include the American Public Health Association’s International Health Mid-Career Award, the UW Distinguished Teaching Award and the Edward K. Barsky Award for global health activism.