University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: Transformative Gift Boosts Population Health Initiative

Transformative Gift Boosts Population Health Initiative


The University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative has received a major boost from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation provided a gift to fund construction of a new building that will house several UW units working in population health, including parts of the School of Public Health.


UW President Ana Mari Cauce described the $210 million gift as “transformative” for the University’s 25-year vision for improving health and well-being, and said it “will create a new facility where faculty, students, staff and partners can come together to find solutions to the world’s greatest health challenges.”

Bill Gates said, “Melinda and I are pleased to make this investment in the University of Washington to help dramatically accelerate their 25-year vision to achieve positive health outcomes for populations around the world. UW has long been a partner in our foundation’s global health and development efforts and this grant underscores our confidence in the school’s students, faculty and multi-disciplinary resources to advance their Population Health Initiative.”

The building is scheduled to open on the Seattle campus in the fall of 2020. It will house the Department of Global Health (a joint department with the School of Medicine), the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and portions of the School of Public Health, including representation from each of the School’s other four departments.

Interim Dean Joel Kaufman said, “This will catalyze a very important and exciting opportunity for the School of Public Health, our colleagues and collaborators on campus, and our partners in the local and global community.”

The facility will act as a physical convening space to allow students, faculty and trainees from a wide range of population health disciplines to exchange ideas, develop projects and prepare for careers that will advance population health. The facility will also act as an idea laboratory and collaboration incubator for students, faculty, staff and visitors, who will come together for training, research work and informal discussions yielding new insights and innovation opportunities.

Three sites are under consideration for the new building. Depending on the final design, it could encompass nearly 300,000 square feet. Not all of the School can be housed in one location because it is simply too large, according to Uli Haller, senior director of finance and administration for SPH.

The Gates’ gift was announced four days after the public launch of the UW’s third comprehensive campaign, dubbed, Be Boundless, For Washington, For the World. The fundraising effort seeks to raise $5 billion. Within this campaign, the School continues to raise funds for programmatic support, including a $20 million goal from private individuals, according to Megan Ingram, assistant dean for advancement. Of that amount, she says, $12.8 million has already been raised.