Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

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Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation logo sm.jpg
Abbreviation IHME
Formation 2007
Type Global health research institute
Purpose Accelerating global health progress through sound measurement and accountable science
Headquarters 2301 5th Ave, Suite 600

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is a research institute working in the area of global health statistics and evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. The Institute is headed by Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray, a physician and health economist, and professor at the Department of Global Health, which is part of the School of Medicine and the School of Public Health. IHME's goal, as stated on the Institute's website, is "to identify the best strategies to build a healthier world. By measuring health, tracking program performance, finding ways to maximize health system impact, and developing innovative measurement systems, IHME provides a foundation for informed decision-making that ultimately will lead to better health globally."[1] IHME conducts research and trains scientists, policymakers, and the public in health metrics concepts, methods, and tools, and its work includes judging the effectiveness and efficacy of health initiatives and national health systems. IHME's work seeks to be complementary to the United Nations' work in the World Health Organization in that it shares many tasks but is independent from pressure from member countries.[2][3][neutrality is disputed]

IHME gathers health-related data from all available sources. It develops innovative analytical tools to track trends in mortality, diseases, and risk factors. It evaluates interventions such as vaccines, malaria control policies, cancer screenings, and birth care. To enable researchers to replicate IHME’s work and to foster new research, IHME created the Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx) where methods and results are cataloged and freely accessible. IHME is also committed to expanding the field of health metrics by training students at the post-baccalaureate and post-graduate levels.


IHME was launched in June 2007 based on a core grant primarily funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[4] This grant of $105 million was given to the University of Washington in Seattle after Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison's pledge of $115 million to Harvard for the founding of a similar institution fell through.[5] Among their earliest projects was to produce new estimates of mortality rates. Members of the Institute published under-5 mortality rates in The Lancet in September 2007,[6] and the Institute updated these in 2010.[7] Maternal[8] and adult mortality[9] estimates have been published as well.

The first board meeting was April 9, 2008.[citation needed] A public open house was also held. The board at that time included Chair Julio Frenk, Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health; Harvey Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine; Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Minister of Health for Ethiopia; K. Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India; Tomris Turmen, President of the International Children’s Center and Head of the Department of Pediatrics/Newborn Medicine at the University of Ankara Medical School in Ankara, Turkey; Lincoln Chen, President of the China Medical Board; Jane Halton, Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing in Australia; and David Roux, Co-Chief Executive of Silver Lake Partners.[citation needed] Board member positions rotate, and in 2010, Ghebreyesus and Brundtland stepped down and Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih, the Minister of Health for Indonesia, joined the IHME board.[citation needed]

In 2011, IHME co-sponsored the first Global Health Metrics & Evaluation conference in Seattle with The Lancet, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health, and University of Queensland School of Population Health.[citation needed]


IHME's research is split into four areas, each of which has several research teams and projects. The areas are: innovative measurement systems, maximizing impact, measuring health, and tracking performance. IHME researchers have had their work published in more than 35 journal articles since the Institute’s creation. IHME also has launched an annual series of policy reports about global health financing, and in June 2010, it published a policy report on child and maternal mortality. In 2009, IHME launched its series of Financing Global Health policy reports.[10][11] The report led to meetings with staff from the US House Foreign Affairs Committee and with a task force appointed by US President Barack Obama to guide the funding of his new Global Health Initiative.

Recent publications have included small area estimation of diabetes rates in the United States[12] and a large study of how global health is financed, which focused on development assistance for health in a 2009 publication[10] and public financing in a 2010 publication.[11] IHME has also worked with other organizations on major projects. For example, IHME’s malaria team helped create the 2010 WHO World Malaria Report, generating all the estimates for insecticide-treated nets.[13] There is a list of publications at IHME’s website.

Global Burden of Disease[edit]

In the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) Study 2010 IHME is attempting to measure the impact of more than 200 health conditions and 40 health risk factors. In collaboration with 800 researchers worldwide, IHME intends to produce estimates in 21 regions around the world for disability-adjusted life years by age and sex for the past two decades. Part of this research involves conducting in-person surveys in several countries and gathering health information through a website survey.

Disease Control Priorities Network[edit]

The Disease Control Priorities Network Project is generating cost effectiveness estimates for a range of health interventions. A team of demographers, statisticians, economists, and other experts are studying how to improve the allocation of resources among interventions, technologies, hospitals, and other service delivery platforms. They are working in multiple countries, including the US, India, and South Africa.

Their cost effectiveness work has been quite revalatory. For example, a 2010 report showed improving girls’ education in poor countries is the most effective way to reduce child mortality,[14] which was a surprise for some people.[15]

Population Health Metrics Research Consortium Project[edit]

Through the Population Health Metrics Research Consortium Project, IHME and its collaborators are creating new methods for tracking health intervention coverage in low-resource settings. The methods could be used to measure mortality, causes of death, and incidence of major illnesses where data are incomplete. Researchers are working in the Philippines, India, Tanzania, and Mexico.

This group also works on demography, and IHME's work on estimating mortality has been at times controversial. In 2009, IHME published a study on maternal mortality[8] which some advocacy groups tried to suppress - worried that results showing a decline in mortality would make it harder to fund-raise. The WHO also initially disgreed with the new results, but later revised their estimates in agreement with those of IHME.[15]

Malaria Control Policy Assessment Project[edit]

The Malaria Control Policy Assessment Project evaluates the effectiveness of malaria-control interventions in two countries in sub-Saharan Africa by analyzing their effect on child mortality and producing estimates at the national and local levels.

United States public health research[edit]

IHME conducts extensive US research, including estimates of mortality, life expectancy, risk factors, health disparities, and disease prevalence. IHME is compiling national and local health trends and integrating multiple data sources to monitor disparities in chronic diseases. It also is measuring effective coverage in all Washington state counties.

A paper published in the journal, Population Health Metrics in June 2011 showed that life expectancy in US counties was rising in some poorer US counties - especially in the south[16] - a surprising result which was widely discussed.[17]

Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx)[edit]

In March 2011, IHME launched the Global Health Data Exchange (or GHDx), which indexes and hosts information about microdata, aggregated data, and research results with a focus on health-related and demographic datasets. At launch, the site listed about 1,000 data sets. The site includes visualization and GIS tools, and has been well received by the health and global health community[18]


IHME receives core grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation[4] and the state of Washington.


  1. ^ IHME (2011). “Institute for Heath Metrics and Evaluation Research”. IHME. Retrieved June 27, 2011
  2. ^ McNiel, Donald (February 16, 2008). "Gates Foundation’s Influence Criticized". New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  3. ^ Doughton, Sandi (April 9, 2008). "Seattle institute aims to help cure world-health data disorder". Seattle Times. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Paulson, Tom (June 4, 2007). "$105 million Gates' gift helps start global health center". Seattle PI. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Harvard still hasn't gotten Ellison's $115M pledged last year". USA Today. June 21, 2006. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  6. ^ Murray CJL, Laakso T, Shibuya K, Hill K, Lopez AD. Can we achieve Millennium Development Goal 4? New analysis of country trends and forecasts of under-5 mortality to 2015. The Lancet. 2007 Sept 22; 370:1040–1054.
  7. ^ Rajaratnam JK, Marcus JR, Flaxman AD, Wang H, Levin-Rector A, Dwyer L, Costa M, Lopez AD, Murray CJL. Neonatal, postneonatal, childhood, and under-5 mortality for 187 countries, 1970–2010: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4. The Lancet. 2010 May 24; 375:1988–2008.
  8. ^ a b Hogan MC, Foreman KJ, Naghavi M, Ahn SY, Wang M, Makela SM, Lopez AD, Lozano R, Murray CJL. Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980-2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5. The Lancet. 2010 May 8; 375:1609–1623.
  9. ^ Rajaratnam JK, Marcus JR, Levin-Rector A, Chalupka AN, Wang H, Dwyer L, Costa M, Lopez AD, Murray CJL. Worldwide mortality in men and women aged 15–59 years from 1970 to 2010: a systematic analysis. The Lancet. 2010 Apr 30; 375:1704–1720.
  10. ^ a b Ravishankar N, Gubbins P, Cooley RJ, Leach-Kemon K, Michaud CM, Jamison DT, Murray CJL. Financing of global health: tracking development assistance for health from 1990 to 2007. The Lancet. 2009 Jun 20; 373:2113–2124.
  11. ^ a b Lu C, Schneider MT, Gubbins P, Leach-Kemon K, Jamison D, Murray CJL. Public financing of health in developing countries: a cross-national systematic analysis. The Lancet. 2010 Apr 17; 375:1375–1387.
  12. ^ Srebotnjak T, Mokdad AH, Murray CJL. A novel framework for validating and applying standardized small area measurement strategies. Population Health Metrics. 2010; 8:26.
  13. ^ "WHO: World Malaria Report 2010". World Health Organization. 2010. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  14. ^ Gakidou E, Cowling K, Lozano R, Murray CJL. Increased educational attainment and its effect on child mortality in 175 countries between 1970 and 2009: a systematic analysis. The Lancet. 2010; 376:959–974.
  15. ^ a b Paulson, Tom (2011). "Number crunchers say the evidence is: Transparency strengthens global health". NPR Humanosphere. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  16. ^ Kulkarni SC, Levin-Rector A, Ezzati M, Murray CJL. Falling behind: life expectancy in US counties from 2000 to 2007 in an international context. Population Health Metrics. 2011; 9:16.
  17. ^ Pallarito, Karen (June 16, 2011). "Life expectancy in U.S. trails top nations". CNN. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  18. ^ Van Dam, Andrew (2011). "Institute launches global health data clearinghouse". Association of Health Care Journalists. Retrieved April 14, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°36′58″N 122°20′36″W / 47.615982°N 122.343217°W / 47.615982; -122.343217