The University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative has received a major boost from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through a gift to fund construction of a new building that will house several UW units working in population health, including parts of the School of Public Health.
UW President Ana Mari Cauce described the $210 million gift as “transformative” for the University’s 25-year vision for improving health and wellbeing, and said it “will create a new facility where faculty, students, staff and partners can come together to find solutions to the world’s greatest health challenges.”
In a statement, Mr. Bill Gates said: “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.”
The building, scheduled to open in the fall of 2020, will be on the Seattle campus. It will house the department of global health (a joint department of the UW Schools of Public Health and Medicine), the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and portions of the School of Public Health, including representation from each of the School’s four other departments: biostatistics, environmental and occupational health sciences, epidemiology, and health services.
UW School of Public Health Interim Dean Joel Kaufman said, “This will catalyze a very important and exciting opportunity for the School of Public Health, our colleagues and collaborators on campus, and our partners in the local and global community.” The School of Public Health is currently spread across campus and the city of Seattle in 20 different locations, he noted.
The facility will act as a physical convening space that allows students, faculty and trainees from a wide range of population health disciplines to exchange ideas, develop projects and prepare for careers that will advance population health. The facility will also act as an idea laboratory and collaboration incubator for students, faculty, staff and visitors, who will come together for training, research work and informal discussions yielding new insights and innovation opportunities.