New national global health consortium of universities includes DMU

The number of students enrolled in global health programs in universities across the United States and Canada has doubled in the past three years. That’s led American universities to expand these programs at an unprecedented rate. The surge also led more than 50 North American universities – including Des Moines University (DMU) – to create the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, to help organize their efforts and set a vision of global health programs.

With funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other organizations, CUGH held its first annual meeting Sept. 14-15 at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Yogesh Shah, M.D., DMU’s associate dean of global health, was invited to join 249 other representatives from 58 universities as well as health officials from government, non-government organizations and various health and research centers. Participants discussed global health policy, challenges, roles for universities, research innovations and collaborative opportunities.

Meeting attendees also reviewed findings from a CUGH survey, the first to gauge the state of academic global health education, that showed great increases in the numbers of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in global health and in the number of student organizations focused on global health.

“The guiding principle of the consortium is to make the university a transforming force in global health,” Shah says. “We at DMU want to join that force by collaborating with other universities and organizations as well as by increasing the opportunities we offer our own students.”

For more information on the CUGH, visit

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