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On September 12, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation released Goalkeepers: The Stories Behind the Data to coincide with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. This report highlights some of the more promising approaches to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by the UN in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

As part of IHME’s Global Burden of Disease study, the report was also the centerpiece of a Goalkeepers event hosted by the Gates Foundation in New York. Speakers from around the world – including former U.S. president Barack Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates – focused on ways to drive more progress in health and development. Bill Gates also spoke to the power of the report to drive decision-making at a special event in Seattle to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Global Burden of Disease, which was co-hosted by IHME and The Lancet. Speakers included UW President Ana Mari Cauce and Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank. Recordings of their talks will be posted on the event website.

These high-profile settings show the major impact of UW Medicine and IHME on global health. Through our research, we are empowering health officials with data to address new and longstanding challenges and giving them the ability to revise and reorient programs needed to meet their nations’ goals.

In addition to the report, IHME published its findings in The Lancet and released an updated visualization tool that analyzes progress, country by country, toward achieving each of 37 health-related SDG indicators. A nation’s overall SDG index score is based on a scale of zero to 100. Singapore tops the list with a score of 87, followed closely by Iceland and Sweden (each at 86). The lowest-scoring nations were Afghanistan, Central African Republic and Somalia, each with a score of 11. The United States scored 74, along with Austria, Spain, and Brunei. IHME also is providing its findings via a new mobile application, Health Atlas.

We are grateful to the Gates Foundation for providing IHME and UW Medicine with the resources to conduct the GBD study as part of our mission to improve the health of the public. We also want to thank and congratulate all of our researchers, analysts and collaborators around the world on their success in recognizing the enormous potential of big data to advance human health.


Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.

CEO, UW Medicine

Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and

Dean of the School of Medicine,

University of Washington

Dr. Christopher J.L. Murray, M.D., DPhi

Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Professor of Global Health

University of Washington


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