Virginia Tech has been accepted as a member of the Washington-based Consortium of Universities for Global Health. As a member of this nonprofit organization, the university joins a network of more than 180 other academic institutions and partner organizations from 39 countries committed to transforming global health across education, research, service, and advocacy.

Established in 2008 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, the consortium aims to build interdisciplinary collaborations between universities and other sectors to facilitate the sharing and implementation of knowledge that addresses the domestic and global challenges countries face. It is dedicated to creating equity and reducing health disparities everywhere.

“Virginia Tech’s membership in this elite consortium demonstrates our commitment and expertise in the field of global health,” said Guru Ghosh, vice president for Outreach and International Affairs. “We have long encouraged students and faculty members to work collaboratively to solve complex problems affecting people around the world. Being part of CUGH gives us a stronger voice and presence in the global health community. We are most grateful to Provost [Cyril] Clarke and Dean [Lee] Learman for their leadership and commitment to global health.”

“As a leader in One Health, which recognizes the inextricable linkages between human health, animal health, and that of the environment, Virginia Tech is particularly well-positioned to add value to the consortium and derive benefit from collaborations with other academic institutions and partners,” said Clarke, executive vice president and provost.

Following a recommendation at a Commission on Outreach and International Affairs meeting last spring from Penelope Muelenaer, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, Ghosh coordinated the university’s efforts to join the consortium. The criteria for membership include offering interdisciplinary programs; working in health across education, research, and service; and having at least one long-term partnership with an institution in a low- or middle-income country.

“Dr. Muelenaer and her husband, Dr. Andre Muelenaer, have been extraordinary examples of physicians who work tirelessly to make an impact on global health,” said Learman, dean of the medical school. “The Muelenaers have been instrumentally involved in stewarding clinical and research opportunities at an international and interdisciplinary level. Participating in these electives has enabled our students to broaden their perspectives on how health care challenges are addressed across the globe.”

As an institutional member of CUGH, every faculty member, administrator, and student at Virginia Tech is also a member of the consortium. Membership benefits include the use of CUGH’s online interest groups and discussion boards and access to its career and funding opportunities.

Faculty members and students can also take advantage of discounted rates on CUGH’s annual conference, which has become one of the world’s leading events in global health. The 2022 conference — “Healthy People, Healthy Planet, Social Justice” — will be held in Los Angeles and virtually in April. More than 1,950 scientists, students, and implementers from academia, NGOs, government, and the private sector will address some of the pressing challenges our world faces.

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