Mån 25 sep / År 41 / Nr 3 2023

Global health improvement also of local interest

Good global health benefits us all. Improvements in the health and welfare of people in low- and middle-income countries can provide a real stimulus to growth in high-income settings – and vice versa. There are, however, many obstacles on the road towards sustainable improvements in global health; challenges that have been addressed by researchers at Umeå University over the last three decades.

Good health is one of the biggest drivers of economic growth around the world. Promoting global health requires interdisciplinary collaboration and a recognition of both the threats and the opportunities that exist today.

Further recognition locally
The Umeå International School of Public Health (UISPH) is home to some of the world’s most highly acclaimed researchers in the field of global health promotion. When Swedish health research is mentioned at international conferences in a number of low- and middle-income countries, it is often with reference to UISPH.
The Epidemiology and Global Health Unit (within which UISPH is based) was founded by a few, highly driven scientists in the mid-1980s. Anneli Ivarsson, Head of Unit today, emphasises that one of the Unit’s current priorities is to maintain the strong international partnerships built up over several decades. “At the same time,” she adds, “our aim is to gain further recognition for our efforts, both locally in Sweden, and within Umeå University”.

Worldwide partnerships
Global health promotion has evolved into a prioritised profile area at Umeå University, with the founding of its own research centre: the Umeå Centre for Global Health Research (UCGHR). UCGHR was founded with support from Forte, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, who has provided continuous support over the first ten-year period (2007- 2016).
UCGHR has partnerships worldwide, including Tanzania, South Africa, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Indonesia, USA, and Australia. Of the Centre’s 60 current graduate students, more than half are citizens of low-and middle-income countries. This rich exchange would not be possible without external support from organisations and companies choosing to sponsor research with a long term goal of improving global health.

Adding value to business
UCGHR is connected to multiple research networks from all over the world, including some strong partnerships close to home. These include, for example, the County Council of Västerbotten, and ongoing projects in business development within the local public health sector.
“UCGHR is well known across the globe, and this provides significant added value for the companies and organisations choosing to cooperate with us. Association with UCGHR can create increased interest in partner organisation’s business”, says John Kinsman, researcher and Deputy Director at UCGHR.