New Center Launched for Women, Teens, and Kids

Friday, December 9, 2011

December 8 saw the launch of the UW's Global Center for Integrated Health of Women, Adolescents and Children (Global WACh). Instead of viewing women, teens, and children as separate populations, Global WACh will look at them as an "interconnected system" linked by common issues: nutrition, disease prevention, education, and reproductive health topics such as family planning. The center is based in the Department of Global Health, under the direction of Grace John-Stewart, professor of epidemiology, global health, and pediatrics.

"Using an integrated lifecycle approach has potential to identify effective strategies to improve health for all three groups," said John-Stewart.

Initially, Global WACh had been planned as a research center for global pediatrics. But John-Stewart said that it became clear early on that child health was tightly intertwined with women's and adolescents' health issues, which called for a wider scope. Global WACh is already engaged in research and community projects involving maternal and child HIV/AIDS interventions in Kenya and reducing maternal mortality in Latin America.

While Global WACh is already working with many other UW departments, "we'd also like to extend our reach to people who are like-minded, such as PATH and other non-governmental organizations," John-Stewart said. "We're very open to collaborations, particularly those that will enable us to address health care challenges from a broader interdisciplinary perspective."

Additionally, Global WACh will award $25,000 seed grants to Washington interdisciplinary research proposals that will investigate health effects through the life cycle.