University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: Center Awarded $20 Million HHS Grant to Strengthen Health Systems Globally

Center Awarded $20 Million HHS Grant to Strengthen Health Systems Globally


The International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH), based in the University of Washington School of Public Health’s Department of Global Health, was recently awarded $20.1 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for the first of five years of funding.

“This is the third competitive renewal of this award since 2002,” said Ann Downer, executive director of I-TECH and principal investigator (PI) for the project. “It has now brought more than $600 million to UW and, through I-TECH, allowed UW to strengthen the health care delivery system for AIDS treatment in low-income countries around the world.” Downer is also a professor in the School’s Department of Global Health and adjunct professor in the Department of Health Services.

“We’re grateful that the new award allows us to sustain our momentum in health systems strengthening work,” continued Downer. “This sort of long-term funding benefits so many—our faculty, staff and students at UW, as well as millions of beneficiaries in countries that need our technical expertise to boost their own efforts to build a healthier population.”

The award is administered by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration of DHHS. Subsequent yearly budgets will be decided with no cap.

I-TECH is the largest center in the School’s Department of Global Health, comprising a global network of nearly 600 staff who work with local partners in more than 20 countries through 13 offices in the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.

This award supports a very broad continuum of interventions. Among them:

  • Design of clinical mentoring and decision support systems to strengthening pre-service training institutions;
  • Implementing quality improvement initiatives;
  • Building laboratory and health information systems;
  • Improving data used for decision making;
  • Integrating e-learning into in-service training;
  • Direct service delivery;
  • Focusing on recruitment to testing;
  • Treatment and retention to care for key vulnerable populations;
  • And providing training on leadership and management.

I-TECH works with a large group of technical partners, including the ECHO Institute at both UW and the University of New Mexico; the UW Center for Global Health Nursing; the UW e-learning program, eDGH; UW GlobalWACh; the UW Global Medicines Program; and others. At University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), I-TECH works with the Center of Excellence for Primary Care, the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, and the Global Health Economics Forum. Additional technical partners include the Foundation for Professional Development in South Africa, the Global Forum for MSM in Oakland, and HealthQual International.

King Holmes, professor in the Department of Global Health at the UW School of Public Health, was the previous PI and will serve as co-PI on this award alongside Michael Reyes, a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF and affiliate professor in the Department Global Health at UW.