UCSF launches "action tank" to advance promising global health strategies

Sir Richard Feachem

UCSF Global Health Sciences is launching an “action tank,” with start-up funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to promote and implement the most promising strategies against global health crises. The Gates Foundation is providing a $5 million grant for the initial phase.

The new team, called the Global Health Group, will be led by Sir Richard Feachem, the former executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and now professor of global health at UCSF.

The Global Health Group will select high priority issues in global health that are ripe for significant new approaches and/or the adoption of pioneering new technology. The Group will first focus on malaria eradication and an enhanced role for the private sector in strengthening health systems in developing countries. The Global Health Group will work with key partners from both the public and private sectors to overcome current bottlenecks in global health and to test new approaches on a large scale.

“We are delighted to be supporting Richard and his group, and we believe that they can bring new ideas and technologies to bear on critical global health challenges,” said Tachi Yamada, MD, president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program. “The group’s first project will be an incredibly important one - helping to accelerate progress toward the eradication of malaria, a disease that kills thousands of children in Africa every day.”

“The Global Health Group will work across the spectrum from analysis, through policy formulation and consensus building, to large-scale action in the developing world,” Feachem said. “Its commitment is to translate new ideas into action on a scale that can positively impact the lives millions of people.”

Strong monitoring, evaluation and operational research components will be built into these implementation programs in order that the programs themselves, and those in other countries, may learn from these experiences, he explained.

“Bill and Melinda Gates have challenged the world to make malaria eradication a top priority over the next decades,” Feachem added. “I hope that the Global Health Group can make a significant contribution to achieving this historic goal and to other big priorities in global health.”

“It is a pleasure to welcome Richard back to San Francisco. UCSF’s strengths in biomedical science, medicine, and public health stand behind the Global Health Group and I am confident that our combined efforts will bring benefits to millions,” said Haile Debas, MD, former chancellor and medical school dean at UCSF and now the executive director of UCSF’s Global Health Sciences.