UW Today

January 25, 2017

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation boosts vital work of the UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

$279 million pledged for IHME to expand its work, highlighting UW’s position as global hub for improving population health worldwide

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) announced today the foundation’s commitment to invest $279 million in IHME to expand its work over the next decade.

The investment will allow IHME to build on its work providing independent health evidence to improve population health.  The award complements other investments from the Gates Foundation to further the work of the University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative, which was launched in May 2016 and is establishing a university wide, 25-year vision to advance the health and well-being of people around the world.

“IHME provides critical data about global health trends that can empower policymakers worldwide to identify better solutions in the fight against disease,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

An attendee at an Ebola workshop in Ghana reviews IHME data.

An attendee at an Ebola workshop in Ghana reviews IHME data.Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Located within UW Medicine, IHME provides rigorous measurement and analysis of the world’s most prevalent and costly health problems and evaluates strategies to address them. The 10-year grant will fund IHME’s work to track how health resources are spent throughout the world, as well as innovations that identify future scenarios to allow decision-makers to better plan and set population health-related priorities. The funding will sustain IHME’s efforts as the coordinating center for the Global Burden of Disease project, the largest publishing collaboration in science, with more than 2,000 researchers worldwide. The grant also provides core support for IHME’s faculty, students, and staff.

“IHME is deeply grateful for this funding and the foundation’s continued support,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of IHME. “Behind this grant is not simply a decision to continue outstanding research and analysis, but also an uncompromising commitment to use health metrics sciences to improve people’s lives.”

“We are proud to support IHME and the University of Washington. We feel lucky that our local university is also on the leading edge of innovation globally, and we are grateful that it has chosen to innovate to help the poorest people in the world,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The $279 million grant is the largest private donation in the university’s history and continues a long tradition of critical investments in the University of Washington by the Gates Foundation, which include grant awards across its academic disciplines including library science, global health, education, law and others. As of Jan. 25, 2017, the foundation has awarded the University of Washington over 250 grants totaling nearly $1.25 billion.

“We’re thankful for this generous grant, which demonstrates the Gates Foundation’s high level of trust and confidence in IHME to deliver unsurpassed work on the world’s health challenges,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. “We share a vision – a world where all people can achieve their full potential – and through our partnerships we will improve the health and well-being of people here and around the globe.”

IHME has grown from employing three individuals nine years ago to managing more than 300 faculty and staff today, while producing more than 200 scientific papers annually, and working closely with global and national institutions to improve health systems worldwide. Its findings are published in major scientific journals, policy reports, and online data visualizations. Moreover, IHME is now considered the trusted source for The World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, The National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust, and a range of other national and global organizations.

Among its work, IHME publishes the annual Global Burden of Disease study (GBD), a systematic, scientific effort to quantify the magnitude of health loss from all major diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex and population. With more than 2,000 collaborators in nearly 130 nations, the GBD examines 300-plus diseases and injuries and about 80 risk factors in every country, as well as sub-national assessments for China, Mexico, UK, Brazil, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and South Africa. In the U.S., 230 causes of death are estimated in every county in every state by census tract.

The 2015 study, released in October, included more than 13 billion estimates of illnesses and injuries evaluated. (See: http://www.healthdata.org/news-release/increase-global-life-expectancy-offset-war-obesity-and-substance-abuse)

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Media Contacts

IHME: Kayla Albrecht | 206-897-3792 | albrek7@uw.edu
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: 206-709-3400 | media@gatesfoundation.org