Christopher J.L. Murray

Professor; IHME Director; Chair, Department of Health Metrics Sciences

Highly Cited Researcher 2022, ClarivateChristopher J.L. Murray, MD, DPhil, is Professor and Chair of Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington and Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). His career has focused on improving population health worldwide through better evidence. A physician and health economist, his work has led to the development of a range of new methods and empirical studies to strengthen health measurement, analyze the performance of health care systems, understand the drivers of health, and produce forecasts of the future state of health. He has led critical analyses during the COVID-19 pandemic to understand its impact on health systems and the population as a whole, and the effectiveness of policy interventions to mitigate it.

Dr. Murray’s most recent work on COVID-19 demonstrates his and IHME’s ability to bridge the science-policy divide through consistent engagement with collaborators around the world. When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, IHME rapidly pivoted to develop a bespoke data-driven modeling approach to COVID-19 for all affected countries, resulting in the world’s most comprehensive and accurate series of long-range forecasts and scenarios. The White House, European Commission, many governments in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, and regional organizations such as WHO EURO, PAHO, and Africa CDC use IHME COVID-19 forecasts and policy scenarios as a reliable, trusted source of evidence.

Dr. Murray is the founding Director of IHME, an independent research institution at the University of Washington that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them through the application of innovative scientific methods. The resultant policy-relevant evidence base informs decision-makers from local to global levels about the current state and future direction of population health and the resources and successful policies needed to improve it. 

Dr. Murray leads the Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) enterprise, the single largest epidemiological enterprise of its kind in the world. He is an architect and co-author of the original GBD framework, a systematic effort to quantify the comparative magnitude of health loss due to diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and geography over time. The GBD Collaboration is now a network of 7,700 scientists and decision-makers from 156 countries who together generate annually updated estimates. The GBD has standardized analytic methods to generate assessments for more than 350 diseases and injuries and 87 risk factors for over 200 countries and 800 states and provinces within them. The most recent of the updates, GBD 2019, presents estimates of all-cause mortality, deaths by cause, years of life lost, years lived with disability, and disability-adjusted life years by country, age, and sex from 1990 to 2019.

From 1998 to 2003, Dr. Murray worked at the World Health Organization (WHO), where he served as the Executive Director of the Evidence and Information for Policy Cluster. He later became Director of the Harvard Initiative for Global Health and the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, as well as the Richard Saltonstall Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health (2003–2007).

He has authored more than 500 journal articles and authored or edited 16 books. Dr. Murray holds Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees from Harvard University, a DPhil in International Health Economics from Oxford University, and a medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the 2018 co-recipient of the John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award.