About the Georgetown Global Health Initiative

About the Georgetown Global Health Initiative

The Georgetown Global Health Initiative (GHI) serves as a university-wide platform for supporting faculty, students, and staff who are contributing to global health through research, teaching, and service.

Building upon Georgetown’s Jesuit heritage, commitment to social justice, and location in Washington, D.C., GHI focuses upon exploring, developing, and sharing concrete solutions that public, private, and civil society leaders can use in addressing practical problems facing needy populations in countries through the world.

While there is no single, accepted definition of “global health,” it is widely recognized as an interdisciplinary field that addresses the health and care of individuals and populations within and across national borders and that pays special attention to issues of equity and development. One of Georgetown’s great strengths in global health is the breadth of faculty and student engagement across our campuses, schools, and departments. This wide-ranging engagement enables Georgetown to bring the perspectives of health, science, law, ethics, business, diplomacy, and social sciences to bear in addressing critical questions in global health.

This is a time of change in global health. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals call for all countries to build enduring health systems while donor assistance has flattened (and may decline) after years of rapid growth in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The global burden of disease is shifting to non-communicable diseases (for example, cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer) even as many countries continue to struggle with infectious diseases (for example, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria). Recent outbreaks of Ebola, Zika, and influenza remind us of pandemic threats to health security faced by all countries. Global trends of climate change, urbanization, and migration portend long-term challenges for human and planetary health.

This constellation of issues requires critical decisions by public, private, and civil society actors in all countries, and there has never been a more important time for academic institutions to inform those crucial choices with knowledge and evidence.

Core Initiative Activities

Core initiative activities include: conducting high-level public dialogues with leaders across sectors; amplifying and extending ongoing university research in global health; and promoting cross-campus collaboration that connects Georgetown faculty and students with researchers and practitioners in global health throughout the world.

Building on Georgetown's Core Strengths

By leveraging its location and influential networks, and reflecting its Jesuit heritage and commitment to social justice, Georgetown University is well-positioned to contribute at the crossroads where health, medicine, and science intersects with policy, law, diplomacy, and ethics.

Georgetown builds upon its reputation and strengths by exploring, developing, and sharing concrete solutions that public, private, and civil society leaders can use in addressing real-world health problems facing needy families and communities. Crafting such solutions requires bridging our core expertise in the health sciences with other disciplines and professions, such as law, business, diplomacy, and social sciences, that provide essential insights.

Initiative Structure

The initiative was officially launched on April 25, 2017, and is jointly led by Executive Vice President for Health Sciences and Executive Dean of the School of Medicine Edward Healton and Vice President for Global Engagement Thomas Banchoff. The GHI will be coordinated by a faculty committee drawn from across campuses, in collaboration with Drs. Healton and Banchoff.

Planning Process

In November 2016, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia announced the launch of the planning process for GHI, led by Drs. Healton and Banchoff. Consultations involving more than 100 faculty members were held through February 2017, culminating in a working luncheon on February 23, where faculty provided their feedback and thoughts on ways forward on the initiative.