Seattle’s Global Health Educators: Making a Difference

Graduation congratulations! Red-letter day for MPH graduate Ibrahim Ali, with UW Global Health chair Dr. King Holmes. (Photo: Bliss Ali)

Graduation congratulations! Red-letter day for MPH graduate Ibrahim Ali of Ghana, with UW Global Health chair Dr. King Holmes. (Photo: Bliss Ali)

It’s not hyperbole: some of the world’s top global health experts live right here in Seattle. They share, teach, and live their passion for improving the world’s health in our region’s universities and colleges. I’ve taken many of their classes or listened in on their seminars and public lectures, grateful for their patience in explaining the nuances of global health to me, a non-medical person.

There are hundreds of global health educators, so I’m simply linking to the biographies of a few who were part of my seminars and classes:

King Holmes, Chair (HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, STDs, & more)
Judith Wasserheit, Vice Chair (male/female circumcision, maternal/child health, & more)
Stephen Gloyd, Assoc.Chair (health systems, HIV/AIDs, maternal/child health, & more)
Benjamin Anderson, Professor (cancer, surgery)
Stephen Bezruchka, Senior Lecturer (health policy, injury/violence, & more)
Ann Downer, Assoc.Professor (health systems, HIV/AIDS, & more)
Emmanuela Gakidou, Assoc. Professor (cancer, metrics, & more)
Virginia Gonzales, Senior Lecturer (HIV/AIDs, maternal/child health, & more)
Jonathan Gorstein, Clinical Assoc. Professor (nutrition, clean water, & more)
Amy Hagopian, Asst. Professor (war/conflict, health systems, & more)
Matt Hanson, Clinical Instructor (child mortality, infectious diseases, & more)
Helen Horton, Affiliate Assoc.Professor (HIV/AIDs, drug/vaccine development, & more)
Chris Murray, Professor (metrics and evaluation)
Deepa Rao, Research Asst. Professor (mental health, chronic diseases, & more)
Matthew Sparke, Adjunct Professor (geography, war/social justice, & more)
Andy Stergachis, Professor (maternal/child health, pharmaceutical science)
Daren Wade, Clinical Instructor (education & training)
Judd Walson, Assistant Professor (HIV/AIDs, infectious diseases, malaria)
Theodore White, Affiliate Professor (HIV/AIDs, neglected diseases, & more)


Daren Wade is director of the University of Washington’s Global Health Resource Center (GHRC), a clearinghouse of global health information, projects, and programs.

Books to help understand global healthIf you want to delve into global health without going for an M.D. or MPH, you can study on your own through books/internet, or head back to school for classes.

I jumped back in with 18- and 20-year-olds whose brain axons and dendrites were stronger and faster than mine, but I like to think discipline and focus were on my side.

Useful Classes in Understanding Global Health:  
Math –statistics is extremely helpful in deciphering charts, metrics, and more
Intro to Global Health, along with intermediate-level global-health seminars
Newly Emerging Infectious Diseases — fascinating journey of germs
Nutrition  –helps in understanding the science of starvation
Microbiology –key to everything and my favorite subject
Anatomy & Physiology I & II –a practical road map of the human body
General Chemistry –good background before microbiology
Lifespan Psychology —whys & ways of growth: physically, mentally, emotionally
Open-to-the-Public Global Health Lectures (many free):

My favorite are the Friday lunchtime brown-bag global health seminars at the University of Washington. They are student-run, with guest speakers ranging from UW faculty to PATH, Gates Foundation, and visiting international global health experts. You can access seminar information on the UW Global Health web site, searching under “GH 500” for autumn, winter, and spring. Example: GH 500-Spring 2012, health systems.

Zeroing in:

Focus on a part of the world you want to claim as your specialty in global health.  For me, internationally it’s Russia, former Soviet Central Asia, and Africa. At home, it’s rural western United States–Montana in particular.

—Helen Holter

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