- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed to invest $279 million in the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) to build on the school’s population health management research efforts.
The decade-long grant will help UW researchers generate evidence related to public health and population health management initiatives in order to device strategies that can reduce costs and improve the quality of care around the globe.
“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.
IHME is currently working on tracking how health resources are distributed and utilized worldwide. The center is the coordinating body for the Global Burden of Disease project, which includes more than 2000 international collaborators.
“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.
The grant is the largest private donation in UW’s history, and will also serve to provide financial support for IHME’s faculty, staff members, and students.
“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.”
In 2015, IHME published its latest Global Burden of Disease study, which found that chronic disease issues such as diabetes, substance abuse, and obesity are offsetting the life expectancy gains produced basic quality of life improvements, including better sanitation, nutrition, indoor air quality, and access to immunizations.
While exposure to negative quality of life factors decreased by about 25 percent between 1990 and 2015, there was an equal rise in obesity, high blood sugar, and substance abuse that are placing pressure on the global healthcare system.
Overall, however, death rates from HIV/AIDS and malaria decreased by more than 40 percent between 1990 and 2015, while deaths from pre-term birth complications and maternal disorders dropped around 30 percent.
IHME’s international collaborations, bringing together nearly 130 nations to research population health trends, have helped to illuminate these shifting patterns in global disease burdens. Data collected and analyzed by the organization also supports the work of many prominent organizations, including The World Bank, the National Institutes of Health, the US Agency for International Development, and the Wellcome Trust.
“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.”