The Global Health Crisis and Our Nation’s Research Universities

On September 14th, 2009, the presidents of five United States universities—Boston University, Brown, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Washington—and representatives of over 50 North American institutions convened for the first meeting of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health ( The meeting was in response to the demonstrated passion and interest of students in the field of global health and the responses needed from universities to cope with increasing student interest in this field. Of 37 institutions surveyed that feature global heath programs, the number of undergraduate and master’s level students studying in the field has doubled since 2006. In this arena, growing student movements have helped lead the way. Organizations such as Clinton Global Initiative Universities have also successfully tapped into university student interest in global public health outreach and research. To be sure, universities are well poised to lead such a movement for global health: They are independent organizations, boast central missions to promote public welfare, and possess copious resources and knowledge to share with partner institutions globally.

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