Seattle Times Examines How Gates Foundation Is Transforming Seattle Into Global Health Center
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has granted $1 billion to researchers and institutions based in Seattle, is transforming the city into a center of global health development, the Seattle Times reports. "With Gates funding, Seattle scientists are helping lead development of vaccines for malaria, AIDS, pneumonia and a host of other afflictions that ravage" the developing world, according to the Times. "The momentum is sure to grow" when the new Department of Global Health at the University of Washington is launched next year with the help of $30 million from the Gates Foundation, the Times reports. Global health programs receive more than 50% of the foundation's total funding, and Seattle-based organizations have received roughly 15% of those monies, the Times reports. According to Steve Reed, founder of the Infectious Disease Research Institute, funding from the Gates Foundation accelerates laboratory research into the manufacturing and clinical trials stage, which government grants usually do not cover. Gates Foundation funding also can help "jump-start products that for-profit companies are unwilling to risk" and "has boosted the stature and influence of many Seattle-based groups," the Times reports. For example, PATH, which receives more than 10% of the Gates Foundation's global health spending, now attracts prominent executives from pharmaceutical companies, according to the Times. Jim Kim, former director of the World Health Organization's HIV/AIDS Department, said that he predicts additional donations from the Gates Foundation will increase its annual health spending to $2.5 billion, adding that Seattle is the most influential U.S. city in the field of public health (Doughton/Heim, Seattle Times, 11/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.