• Professor Emeritus, Global Health
  • Executive Director, I-TECH

University of Washington
908 Jefferson Street, 12th Floor
Box 359932
Seattle, WA 98104
United States

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Ann Downer has worked as a public health professional in domestic and international settings for nearly 40 years. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Education and a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.

Dr. Downer began her public health career as an educator with Planned Parenthood International and later worked as a trainer, curriculum specialist, and manager in public and private schools, clinics and hospitals, non-profits/NGOs, health departments, and national Ministries of Health and Education around the world. She was an early recruit in the domestic fight against HIV/AIDS in the US, working on an innovative pilot project in Seattle, USA, starting in the mid-1980s. During those years, Ann and her team supported development of behavioral research protocols and produced some of the first AIDS prevention campaigns in the State of Washington. Many of those mass media campaigns, curriculum products, and behavioral interventions are still in use today.

Dr. Downer left the health department in 1989 for an appointment on the faculty of the University of Washington (UW), Department of Health Services. She was among the first faculty members invited to join the newly formed UW Department of Global Health when it was established in 2007 with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Ann has founded two Centers during her long career in academics, including I-TECH, the International Training and Education Center for Health. I-TECH supports 12 offices outside the US and provides technical assistance to strengthen healthcare systems and increase human capacity for health throughout the world. Dr. Downer is also an active contributor to UW’s teaching programs. She has taught courses on mass media in health, educational theory, and health promotion planning over the years. More recently, she has been teaching very large online and classroom-based graduate courses on global health management and leadership skills. Ann received the UW’s highest honor for Distinguished Contributions to Lifelong Learning in 2015.

  • EdD (Seattle University)
  • MS (University of Washington)
  • BA (Western Washington University)
Health Topics 
  • Clinical Mentoring
  • Distance Learning
  • Education and Training
  • Health Promotion
  • Implementation Science
  • Mobile Health (mHealth)
  • Workforce

Implementation science; distance education and e-learning; health communication; instructional design; educational leadership; global program management and leadership


Leadership and Management in Health: This online course is offered twice a year. More than 7,000 health professionals from 50 countries have completed the course since 2010. It was translated into Russian and Ukrainian languages in 2016 in collaboration with Bogomolets National Medical University in Kiev. Translation to Spanish is underway by Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) in Lima and a Chinese version of the course is occurring in collaboration with South Central University in Hunan Province, People’s Republic of China. A nine-month certificate program that contains this course was first offered in 2014 and has now graduated 32 laboratory managers from 10 countries in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region and Africa. The course has also been adapted for self-study by tablet.

Everyday Leadership: This multi-media website includes dozens of curriculum products, more than 350 short videos, and 21 longer video profiles of leaders from around the world.  See the Principles and Practices section for a view of the underlying taxonomy for Everyday Leadership. There were 33,306 visits to this website in 2016 from people in more than 165 countries (10,641 unique visitors). The site currently supports more than 2,000 registered users, with more than 300 users active during the year.

Tablet-based Interactive Toolkit for Clinical Mentors in Zimbabwe: The Learning Bank is a flexible, interactive toolkit for supporting effective clinical mentoring in Zimbabwe. Mentors use an individual tablet that contains an offline bank of topics focusing on TB and ART-related clinical and documentation skills essential for mentees working in HIV/ART care and treatment. Mentors can use the learning tools to support mentees to improve their knowledge and skills during mentoring visits or to refresh their own skills. 
PMTCT Patient Retention Case-based E-learning: This tablet-based e-learning course is five weeks long, with face-to-face workshops at the beginning and end and one case per week during a distance-based, self-study section. There is also course support and reminders offered through a WhatsApp group.

PMTCT Counselling Blended Learning Program for Primary Counsellors: This blended learning training is for primary counsellors throughout Zimbabwe and focuses on counselling on Option B+ for pregnant women, as well as updating on new HTC guidelines. A six week tablet-based training strengthens primary counsellors’ skills in Option B+ counselling (rapid adherence counselling, retention issues/postpartum care, disclosure, couples counselling). Content is presented through a face-to-face session during a one-day workshop at the start of the program. A self-study period of six weeks includes podcasts, recorded lectures, quizzing, peer learning, and discussions (remote and in-person) during the self-study period, then a formal assessment at the last face-to-face session where they receive a certificate.