On April 18, we will have the opportunity to lend our support to an important initiative to alleviate human suffering around the world. On that day, we hope you will join us in supporting the Giving Day to benefit the University of Chicago Center for Global Health. The Giving Day will take place from noon on Wednesday, April 18, to noon on Thursday, April 19. (Editor’s note: You can follow along on social media using #UChiGlobalHealthDay.)
Your support will go especially far; gifts will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $15,000. Make a difference today!
The Center addresses a sobering reality: When it comes to health, we do not all inhabit the same world.
April 7, 2018, was World Health Day. Established by the World Health Organization (WHO), World Health Day pursues WHO’s guiding vision of “Health for All.” In WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ words, “No one should have to choose between death and financial hardship. No one should have to choose between buying medicine and buying food.” The theme for World Health Day was “Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.” To view social media posts from World Health Day 2018, click #HealthForAll and #WorldHealthDay2018.
The inequities are devastating. Infant mortality rates in part of Africa and Asia are 15 times higher than in the developed world. In Chicago, average life expectancy is 85 years in wealthier neighborhoods, but only 65 in poor ones.
Earthquakes, epidemics, and war lay bare the tragic consequences of limited access to health care overseas. Urban health statistics document the disparities in our own city. Yet worldwide, 95 percent of health research funding goes to medical programs that affect only 5 percent of the population.
The Center intends to change that.
It reaches across the city and around the globe to study and remedy inequities in health through education, research, training, advocacy, and service.
It is ideally positioned to do so. Founded by faculty members Olufunmilayo Olopade, MD, FACP, and Christopher Sola Olopade, MD, MPH, the Center draws on the university’s collective expertise in the basic sciences, medicine, public policy, economics, anthropology, computation, social science, humanities, and law.
The Olopades bring to bear their own considerable skills and accomplishments. Center director Olufunmilayo Olopade is a medical oncologist whose research found that women of African heritage can be genetically susceptible to a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer. Her work changed the way doctors screen and treat black women for the disease, and earned her a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal.
Christopher Sola Olopade is a pulmonologist and expert on asthma whose research on the spread of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and on the dangers of household air pollution caused by cooking with biomass-fueled stoves twice won him the Humanitarian Award of the American College of Chest Physicians. His innovative research on mitigating the health challenges posed by household air pollution led to the creation of the Pan-African Ethanol Stoves and Fuel Alliance, which will promote the use of ethanol as a clean alternative to biomass fuels in Africa. “Anything we can do to mitigate the health effects of climate change anywhere in the world will help us in Chicago, where I see the devastating effects of air pollution on the health and wellness of my patients suffering from asthma and other chronic lung diseases,” says Olopade.
Each year, the Center sends teams of University of Chicago researchers from various disciplines to partner sites around the world. They work with local communities to study problems, find and implement solutions, and advocate for policy changes.
We find the Center’s work inspiring, as did Susie and the late Dick Kiphart, Ned’s partner at William Blair. The Kipharts originally donated funds to build wells in remote villages in Ghana, an effort that expanded to building schools and a computer laboratory, supporting farmers, and partnering with academic institutions for sustainable development in the region.
Support like yours not only benefits communities around the world, but also advances global health education — a core value for the Center, which offers a Global Health Scholars track at the Pritzker School of Medicine, courses for undergraduate and graduate students, and international research opportunities.
The experience can be life-changing. University of Chicago undergraduate Ade Ayoola studied diabetes as a Center fellow in Nigeria, where she was born. She is now pursuing a career in global health, and was just selected as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford University, which provides full funding for a medical degree and a global leadership program.
This summer, Center research fellows will study infectious disease in Panama; help establish a sickle cell anemia research network in Nigeria; and study and treat arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh, where contaminated groundwater has caused what has been called the world’s worst case of mass arsenic poisoning.
The Center also brings international medical students and resident observers to the University of Chicago. They find participating in high-level research and caring for Chicago’s famously diverse patient population a powerful experience, as they recounted in videos.
And to further extend the University’s global outreach, the Center last year joined other University representatives in signing a Memorandum of Understanding with China Medical University, which has more than 25,000 registered students.
It is all in service of a singular, deeply-felt mission — to ease suffering around the world. We have been honored to add our hands to the effort.
We know your own commitment to making this world a better one. On this Giving Day hosted by the Center for Global Health, please join us and add your hands to ours. Please help us spread the word of this amazing work. Remember, over these 24 hours gifts will be matched dollar for dollar. Donate now and make your mark across the globe.
Better Giving Circle and $10,000 Matching Grant Platform
Make It Better’s Better Giving Circle is a supercharged version of pooled philanthropy and impact; it uses the internet’s power to connect and amplify and expands your personal network to help your cause. Learn more.
And, because we celebrate and nurture philanthropic collaboration, we welcome the opportunity to help promote matching grants of at least $10,000 with an article that fosters connections to other media and trusted sources. Beneficiaries of this opportunity report extraordinary success too. Please see examples here and submit your inquiry here.