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April 28, 2017

Georgetown Launches Global Health Initiative to Advance Research, Solutions

A new university-wide Global Health Initiative designed to advance research, teaching, and solutions on pressing global health issues launched this week with a forum that included more than 50 faculty members.

The half-day launch event on April 25 highlighted Georgetown faculty research in areas such as infectious disease and global health security. It marked the culmination of a five-month planning and consultation process announced by President John J. DeGioia at the Medical Center convocation last November.

“Global health is an interdisciplinary field that engages scholars in fields ranging from basic sciences and medicine to law and policy,” said Edward B. Healton, executive vice president for health sciences at Georgetown University Medical Center and co-leader of the initiative. “We at Georgetown have an exceptional breadth of experts who want to work together to explore solutions to the world’s challenging health problems.”

Faculty Collaboration

Thomas Banchoff, the university’s vice president for global engagement and initiative co-leader with Healton, said leaders organized the forum in response to a “clear message from faculty that they want to learn more about one another’s scholarship and explore ways to collaborate on global health.”

The new initiative aims to generate a network through which a deeper understanding of the possibilities of addressing global health challenges will be formed by connecting researchers, educators, students, think tanks, healthcare workers, international partners, government agencies, and NGOs.

Government and Policy

At the forum this week, many of the discussions pondered the relationship of government policy to global health, with forum participants emphasizing the need to reach decision-makers and provide evidence-based arguments and to develop effective evaluation methods to measure policy impact.

Other groups considered such topics as effective implementation of gender-based health policy, the importance of scientific discovery and innovation, and professional development of junior faculty.

John Monahan, global health senior advisor to Georgetown President John J. DeGioia, emphasized the commitment to social justice embedded in global health and its resonance with Georgetown’s mission and Jesuit heritage.

Looking Forward

In the coming months the initiative will support a seed grants program for collaborative faculty research; events that bring together faculty and students with global health scholars and practitioners from the D.C. area and beyond; and the expected launch of a Center for Global Health and Quality this fall.

“The Global Health Initiative provides a unique opportunity for our university community to come together, across disciplines, to positively impact some of the most pressing global health challenges affecting families and communities throughout our world,” DeGioia said.