The UC Global Health Institute Turns 10

The University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHI) is a UC-wide initiative that stimulates, nurtures and promotes global health research, education and collaboration to advance health in California and worldwide.

Watch our video about global health

Launched in 2009, UCGHI harnesses UC’s power to revolutionize the training of global health leaders and accelerates the discovery and implementation of transformative global health solutions.

Look back and celebrate our 10-year anniversary with us!


Haile T. Debas, UCSF Chancellor Emeritus, founded UCGHI in November 2009 with support from a $4M planning grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

He organized a series of meetings with faculty from all 10 UC campuses who actively engaged in dialogue to create the vision for UCGHI.

“The formation of UCGHI attests to the recognition that together the 10 campuses can accomplish more than the sum of their individual efforts.” - Haile T. Debas

The UCGHI planning committee published a report measuring the significant economic impact of global health spending on California.

They found that, in 2007, global health activities generated an estimated $49.8 billion of business activity (revenue or income) and supported 350,000 high quality jobs – representing $19.7 billion in wages and salaries.

Committee members presented the report to UC faculty and policymakers in Sacramento.


To bring together the best and the brightest across the UC system, UCGHI called for proposals to form multi-campus Centers of Expertise (COEs).

Three COEs were launched to lead UC-wide educational programs and develop targeted collaborative research with sustainable international partnerships to improve health globally and in California.

  • Migration and Health
  • Women's Health and Empowerment
  • One Health

Migration and Health Center of Expertise

The Migration and Health Center of Expertise (MH COE), co-led by UC Davis and San Diego, examined health consequences of global population movements and factors that affect migration.

By studying environmental factors, global conflict affecting refugees and increasing economic and demographic disparities, the MH COE developed innovative and effective strategies to address migration and health related issues.

Faculty partners published and shared their research on the health of undocumented immigrants and agricultural workers with policymakers in Sacramento.

Read the white papers: Creating conditions to support healthy people: State policies that affect the health of undocumented immigrants and their families

Improving the health of agricultural workers and their families in California: Current status and policy recommendations

The Migration and Health COE convened faculty and trainees at conferences and their annual Summer Institute.

In 2018, an online course on Migration and Health was made available through the UC Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI).

More about the online course: Migration and Health

Women's Health and Empowerment Center of Expertise

The Women’s Health and Empowerment Center of Expertise (WHE COE), co-led by UCSF and UCLA promoted justice, equity and scientific advances to reduce gender and health disparities globally.

The WHE COE worked to build and strengthen the capacity of the next generation of leaders in women’s health and empowerment both at UC and internationally, through annual retreats, intensive Summer Institutes in California and Kenya, innovative research, and education.

From top left across: WHE COE annual retreat 2014, MenEngage Africa training 2014, "When women's health & empowerment meets masculinities" course participants, Summer Institute 2014 instructors

WHE COE activities focused on:

  • Assuring safe motherhood
  • Reducing violence against women
  • Improving access to family planning and reproductive technologies
  • Advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights
  • Preventing HIV/AIDS
  • Reducing environmental threats to women's health
  • Publication of a book: Women's Empowerment and Global Health: A 21st Century Agenda

One Health Center of Expertise

One Health recognizes the interconnections between the health of humans, animals and their shared environment.

The One Health COE, co-led by UC Davis and UC Riverside, was committed to the application of transdisciplinary, interprofessional solutions to global health challenges.

The One Health COE awarded competitive graduate student research fellowships, supporting projects around the world. Including investigation of:

  • Rift Valley Fever in northern Senegal
  • Chronic kidney disease in Sri Lanka
  • Human-macaque contact and high-risk interfaces in Nepal
  • Impact of fishing on health of people with HIV/AIDS in Kenya
  • Soil fertility disruption in agricultural systems in California
From left and across: Northern Senegal, Sri Lanka , Nepal, Kenya, California

The One Health COE developed and contributed to impactful educational efforts, including:

  • Innovative case-based learning modules
  • UC Riverside/UC Davis cross-campus graduate course
  • UC Davis major/minor in Global Disease Biology
  • Experiential field course in Sri Lanka

Launch of UC Global Health Day

UC Global Health Day is a system-wide conference where students and faculty share their experience in research, education and community engagement to tackle health challenges in California and globally.

Since 2010, UC Global Health Day has been held on 7 UC campuses with outstanding keynote speakers and both students and faculty from across the system contributing presentations, posters and interactive break-out sessions on all aspects of global health.

The first UC Global Health Day was held in November 2010 at UC Irvine, with 230 registered attendees.

Keynote speakers presented on women’s health and empowerment and the importance of social investment in global health.


UCGHI received 5 years of funding from the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center to launch the GloCal Health Fellowship.

After a successful first 5 years (2012-17), the GloCal program was awarded a second 5 years of funding (2017-2022).

The first cohort of graduate and post-graduate trainees selected from UC campuses and their international partner sites began their mentored global health research experience in 2012.

From left across: GloCal fellows in India, Vietnam, Mexico, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala

Learn more about the GloCal Health Fellowship

UC Global Health Day 2012

UC Global Health Day 2012 was held at UC Berkeley with 446 registered attendees.

Keynote speakers focused on the impact of population growth and consumption on human health and well-being.


Chan Soon-Shiong Foundation generously provided $4M to support UCGHI's cross-campus global health programs.

UC Global Health Day 2013

UC Global Health Day 2013 was held at UC Riverside with over 250 attendees.

Keynote speakers addressed priority setting for global health and species-spanning medicine, challenging UC to heal all the patients (human and animal) that share our planet.


UC Global Health Day 2014 was held at UC Davis with over 400 attendees including UC President Janet Napolitano.

Keynote speakers focused on non-communicable disease control and how to make innovative breakthroughs in global health.


UC Council of Chancellors committed $5M over five years to support UCGHI.

By 2015, UCGHI had awarded over $7M in scholarships and fellowships to UC students, faculty and postdocs - supporting participation in UC Global Health Day, COE summer institutes, GloCal Health Fellowship program, research abroad and more.

Since July 2015, UCGHI has raised an additional $15.3M from government grants, foundations and individuals.

UC Global Health Day 2015

UC Global Health Day was held in April 2015 at UCLA with 290 registered attendees, including Patrick Soon-Shiong.

Speakers discussed transformative cancer treatment technologies and what States can do to improve the health of undocumented immigrants.


UCGHI launched two new Centers of Expertise.

  • Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment
  • Planetary Health

Women's Health, Gender and Empowerment Center of Expertise

The Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment Center of Expertise (WHGE COE), co-led by UC Berkeley and UCLA, with deputy directors from UC Santa Barbara, UCSF and UC San Diego, emphasizes the importance of equitable gender norms in supporting healthy and empowered women and gender nonconforming individuals.

The COE promotes research, education and community engagement to reduce gender and health inequities.

The WHGE COE’s signature project, UC Speaks Up, led by UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego faculty, with partners in South Africa, Kenya and Zambia, aims to eliminate sexual harassment from UC campuses and eventually from campuses around the world.

Learn more about UC Speaks Up

The WHGE COE engages students through their annual retreats, scholarships to trainees and student ambassador program.

The WHGE COE's special issue on “Women’s empowerment related to pregnancy and childbirth” features papers showing how women’s empowerment relates to pregnancy and childbirth.

Read the special issue.

Planetary Health Center of Expertise

The Planetary Health Center (PH COE) is co-led by UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis with deputy directors from UC Riverside, UC Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The PH COE identifies solutions that will help populations, both human and animal, to foster resilience in the face of changing environments and climate crisis.

The PH COE supports transformative solutions to health-environment challenges by:

  • Awarding seed grants and scholarships to UC researchers and trainees
  • Developing online courses about planetary health issues
  • Engaging students through student ambassador programs
  • Bringing together UC and community leaders with policy makers

Undergraduate and graduate students gain hands-on experience in conservation, natural resources, agriculture, policy and health through the PH COE Summer Field Experience Program. Students benefit from internships with organizations including the California Department of Conservation and Department of Public Health.

Top left across: Student Ambassador events at UC Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara, PH COE faculty supporters meet at UC Riverside, Rx One Health course in Tanzania, International Student Ambassadors at UC San Diego

The PH COE examines critical global health issues through its signature projects:

  • Farming in the 21st century
  • Women at the center of planetary health solutions

UC Global Health Day 2016

UC Global Health Day 2016 was held at UCSF in conjunction with the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Conference.

UCGHI sponsored the seventh annual CUGH event and hosted a pre-conference session on "Empowering & Connecting Students for Sustainable Global Health."


UCGHI and its faculty partners launched a suite of online global health courses to connect UC students on all campuses and inspire them to explore and contribute to tackling global health challenges.

Funded by UCOP’s Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI), as of April 2019 there were 12 courses that have been taken by 2,500 students.

Available courses:

  • Climate Change and Disaster Management
  • Ethics in Global Health
  • Foundations of Epidemiology
  • Global Mental Health
  • Global Population, Health and Environment
  • Introduction to Global Health
  • Migration and Health
  • Nutrition and Global Health
  • Poverty and Development
  • Women's Health, Gender and Empowerment
  • Community Analysis and Global Health (in development)
  • Global Health Policy and Diplomacy (in development)

Learn more about online global health courses!

UCGHI Advocacy Initiative

The UCGHI Advocacy Initiative supported student advocates from across the UC system to build system-wide momentum in support of global health.

UCGHI student advocates and mentors produced a step-by-step guide for students and community members looking to take action on health policies.

Read the Global Health Advocacy Guide

UCGHI gets a new look

In July 2017, UCGHI launched a rebranded website and robust communication strategy with an updated look, monthly newsletter and focused social media efforts.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter!

Left to right: website, monthly newsletter


UC Global Health Day 2018 at UC San Diego had over 500 attendees and a powerful keynote speaker who addressed the need for global universal mental health services.

UCGHI partnered with the California Department of Conservation and UC Davis to co-sponsor a day-long symposium on “Managing Lands in a Changing Climate to Improve Agricultural Resilience, Food Security, and Health” as part of Governor Brown's Global Climate Action Summit.


UCGHI turns 10!

We are thrilled to celebrate 10 years of mobilizing people and resources across the UC system to advance research, education and collaborations that positively impact health locally and globally.

UCGHI continues to drive global health through training enrichment tools, groundbreaking research and exciting opportunities for students.

Looking ahead...

To tackle the most challenging health and environmental problems of California and the world, UCGHI will:

  • Inspire and empower current and future global health leaders
  • Launch programs to support diversity in the global health work force
  • Catalyze and support new and successful multi-campus collaborations
  • Establish UC as a global health leader and resource

Follow UCGHI on Facebook and Twitter

Join us for UC Global Health Day

May 2, 2020 at UC Santa Cruz

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for updates and deadlines!

Photo credit (alpha order): Amy Hwang-Epstein, Ashley Bardon, Karen Schlein, Migration and Health COE, One Health Center of Expertise, Planetary Health COE, Rodrick Beiler, Shamba Maisha, UC ANR, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment COE


Created with an image by Quangpraha - "adult adult only agriculture"