Washington’s enormous global health impact

Mark Rosenberg Landscape Study Launch

168 organizations working in 151 countries on more than 5000 projects. That is Washington state’s contribution to health worldwide. Tens of millions of lives saved.

These are just a few highlights from the Washington Global Health Landscape Study released last week by WGHA. This study confirms that global health is one of this state’s greatest assets and among its most impactful exports.

In addition to its impact around the world, our global health sector employs 12,600 people in this state and contributes $5.8 Billion to the state’s economy. About two-third of that comes from government funding – most from the National Institutes of Health; 17% from private foundations (like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and donors; 17% from earned revenue. You can read more in The Seattle Times and the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Washington-based global health initiatives have an enormous impact in Washington State. By focusing on interdisciplinary approaches to complex problems, bringing outside investment and attracting world-class talent to our region this sector contributes to Washington’s innovation ecosystem. Lessons-learned in global health allow us to apply new solutions to health challenges at home and explore cost-saving approaches for our own system.

This report is the culmination of a year’s worth of effort. It includes a survey of organizations and companies working in global health, economic research from publically available sources and in-depth interviews with CEOs and HR Directors.

WGHA will take the lessons learned in this study to improve and expand the sector’s impact. We are dedicated to working with our members, partners and creative business leaders in our community to explore new business models. We are working to convene strategic groups around the issues identified in the report like recruitment and the need for technology workers and managers. We will work with the city and the state to highlight the role global health plays to cement better international relationships and we will educate federal and state lawmakers about the opportunities and advantages this sector offers, so they will support continuance of federal funding for research and development.

In the future, as we work with other regions to identify global health clusters —most immediately with leaders in Atlanta to form the Georgia Global Health Alliance (GGHA)— we hope that similar data will be collected to educate regional leaders and policymakers about the contributions and importance of this groundbreaking work.

Global health is a tough sector to study. Washington State is the first area in the world to even recognize global health as a distinct sector, so we’re charting new territory. Our sincere thanks to JPMorgan Chase & Company and the City of Seattle for making this study possible.