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Gates Foundation Awards $210M to UW's Population Health Initiative

October 26, 2016
by Heather Landi
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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding $210 million to Seattle-based University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative, with the funds going toward the construction of a new building to serve as the initiative’s hub.

In May, the UW launched an initiative to develop a 25-year vision to improve population health locally and globally by focusing on three key areas—human health, environmental resiliency and social and economic equity. The new building being constructed will serve as a hub for collaboration on population health across a range of disciplines at the university. When completed, it will house the Department of Global Health, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and portions of the School of Public Health and provide a central gathering place for partners from around the university, region and world.

“Melinda and I are pleased to make this investment in the University of Washington to help dramatically accelerate their 25-year vision to achieve positive health outcomes for populations around the world. UW has long been a partner in our foundation’s global health and development efforts and this grant underscores our confidence in the school’s students, faculty and multi-disciplinary resources to advance their Population Health Initiative,” Bill Gates said in a prepared statement.

According to a press release, the UW’s Population Health Initiative recognizes that the health of an individual or a community involves more than just the absence of disease. Issues from poverty and equity, to health care access, to climate change and government policies all combine to affect the health and well-being of populations around the world, creating health disparities between countries and even within communities. The initiative builds on the UW’s public mission of service to improve health around the world.

UW Population Health Initiative leaders stated that the Gates Foundation award will accelerate the 25-year vision of collaboration among diverse fields in the health sciences and beyond, including education, engineering, environmental sciences, law, the arts, humanities, social sciences, business and others.

“We believe we have a moral imperative to bring together the tremendous knowledge and resources of the UW and the Puget Sound region and channel them towards improving health and well-being here in Washington and around the world,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said in a statement. “We are grateful and honored to receive this generous support from the Gates Foundation, which recognizes that the UW is among a small subset of institutions equipped to tackle the health challenges we face on a global scale.”

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