It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Bill Gates Sr., who played a pivotal role in the creation of our UW Department of Global Health (DGH) in 2007, and continued to be a staunch and vocal advocate for the Department and our work to improve health and health equity around the world. DGH was launched through a generous gift and endowment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that he spearheaded.
“Our department would not exist today, if it were not for Bill Gates Sr. He heard students’ call for a global health program at UW, and translated a vision into a vibrant reality.” Said Judy Wasserheit, the DGH Chair.
With the support of Bill Gates Sr., DGH has grown explosively from a small program with three faculty and a half dozen staff, to a highly inter-disciplinary department. Housed within the Schools of Public Health and Medicine, DGH includes almost 450 faculty, more than 2,400 staff – most of whom are based in low and middle income countries – and more than 430 students who work together with partners in over 140 countries. Today, 1,400 alumni amplify these efforts. Bill Gates Sr. made these achievements possible, changing the lives of people all around the world. We celebrate all the lives he touched, and will miss him greatly.