Publication date: 
January 25, 2017



Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $279 million for IHME to expand its work, highlighting the UW’s position as global hub for improving population health worldwide

SEATTLE, WA, USA (January 25, 2017) - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) announced today the foundation’s commitment to invest $279 million in IHME to expand its work over the next decade.

The investment will allow IHME to build on its work providing independent health evidence to improve population health. The award complements other investments from the Gates Foundation to further the work of the University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative, which was launched in May 2016 and is establishing a university-wide, 25-year vision to advance the health and well-being of people around the world.

“IHME provides critical data about global health trends that can empower policymakers worldwide to identify better solutions in the fight against disease,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Located within UW Medicine, IHME provides rigorous measurement and analysis of the world’s most prevalent and costly health problems and evaluates strategies to address them. The 10-year grant will fund IHME's work to track how health resources are spent throughout the world, as well as innovations that identify future scenarios to allow decision-makers to better plan and set population-health-related priorities. The funding will sustain IHME’s efforts as the coordinating center for the Global Burden of Disease project, the largest publishing collaboration in science, with more than 2,000 researchers worldwide. The grant also provides core support for IHME's faculty, students, and staff.

“IHME is deeply grateful for this funding and the foundation’s continued support,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of IHME. “Behind this grant is not simply a decision to continue outstanding research and analysis, but also an uncompromising commitment to use health metrics sciences to improve people’s lives.”

“We are proud to support IHME and the University of Washington. We feel lucky that our local university is also on the leading edge of innovation globally, and we are grateful that it has chosen to innovate to help the poorest people in the world,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The $279 million grant is the largest private donation in the university’s history and continues a long tradition of critical investments in the University of Washington by the Gates Foundation, which include grant awards across its academic disciplines such as library science, global health, education, law and others. As of January 25, 2017, the foundation has awarded the University of Washington over 250 grants totaling nearly $1.25 billion.

“We’re thankful for this generous grant, which demonstrates the Gates Foundation’s high level of trust and confidence in IHME to deliver unsurpassed work on the world’s health challenges,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. “We share a vision – a world where all people can achieve their full potential – and through our partnerships we will improve the health and well-being of people here and around the globe.”

IHME Fact Sheet: 

IHME has grown from employing three individuals nine years ago to managing more than 300 faculty and staff today, while producing more than 200 scientific papers annually, and working closely with global and national institutions to improve health systems worldwide. Its findings are published in major scientific journals, policy reports, and online data visualizations. Moreover, IHME is now considered the trusted source for the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, the National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust, and a range of other national and global organizations.

Among its work, IHME publishes the annual Global Burden of Disease study (GBD), a systematic, scientific effort to quantify the magnitude of health loss from all major diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and population. With more than 2,000 collaborators in nearly 130 nations, GBD examines 300-plus diseases and injuries and about 80 risk factors in every country, as well as subnational assessments for China, Mexico, UK, Brazil, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and South Africa. In the US, 230 causes of death are estimated in every county in every state by census tract.

The 2015 study, released in October, included more than 13 billion estimates of illnesses and injuries evaluated. (See

Media Contacts

IHME | [email protected]
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation | 206-709-3400 | [email protected]


The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of 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. IHME makes this information freely available so that policymakers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources to best improve population health.

The University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative addresses the most persistent and emerging challenges in human health, environmental resilience, and social and economic equity. Through partnerships with local, national, and global communities, we develop, implement, and communicate transformative knowledge through our research, service, and teaching. The initiative is also a major priority of the UW’s Be Boundless – For Washington, For the World fundraising campaign.

UW Medicine is one of the top-rated academic medical systems in the world. With a mission to improve the health of the public, UW Medicine educates the next generation of physicians and scientists, leads one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive biomedical research programs, and provides outstanding care to patients from across the globe. The School of Medicine faculty is second in the nation in federal research grants and contracts with $727.5 million in total revenue (fiscal year 2015) according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people – especially those with the fewest resources – have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

“IHME has developed a trusted reputation in health metrics sciences for integrity and quality. The Institute is providing the best data available on global levels and trends in health and has a very promising future of innovations on the horizon."

Dr. Victor Dzau, President of the National Academy of Medicine

“In a relatively short amount of time the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has become the gold standard for independent health metrics sciences globally. The world needed a way to measure progress in health and the social factors that contribute to health, and IHME now provides regular, rigorous assessments that are relied upon for decision-making.”

Sally Davies, chief medical officer of the United Kingdom

“To guide decision-making and program development, policymakers and leaders especially in Ministries of Health and local government, would benefit from using IHME’s work and consultation with local collaborators from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) network.”

Nafsiah Mboi, Leaders' Envoy with Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Alliance and former Indonesian Minister of Health, now the Leaders' Envoy with Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Alliance

“The mission of UW Medicine is to improve the health of the public and the work of IHME provides a roadmap to guide work on our mission. Its research and analyses are recognized as world class, and we have high hopes – and expectations – for the Institute’s impact on improving population health over the next 10 years and beyond.”

Dr. Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine and dean of the University of Washington School of Medicine

“[The GBD] is a very powerful instrument. It is not just a technical instrument, it is also a political instrument for transformation socially, economically, and indeed politically…. We are trying to get as close to the truth as we possibly can in writing the story of health amongst the people on our planet. As we do so, we recognize progress, but also see the huge challenges ahead. As we look at those challenges we refuse to let ourselves be saddened by [them]. Indeed we turn that around and make ourselves excited by the potential and the prize that we have before us.”

Dr. Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet