Importance and Rationale for the Renaming of the Center for Global Health as the Center for Global Health Equity
Since 2001, UVA’s Center for Global Health (CGH) has sustained a commitment to global health for all based on values of parity, reciprocity, and humility. CGH strives to advance global health equity through direct research, institutional capacity-building, and, especially, support for UVA students’ participation in meaningful global health research and engagement. We prepare students to become the next generation of global health leaders. To achieve this goal, we partner with institutions, faculty members, students, and communities across the globe, including in Virginia and the United States.
CGH is a pan-University center. CGH evolved from the Office of International Health (originally established in 1978 by Dr. Richard Guerrant), and the renaming to CGH emphasized the inter-connectedness of the “global” rather than the boundaries implied by “international.” In addition, it made explicit that our focus was not exclusively outside of our national boundaries but, rather, inclusive of our commitment to communities struggling with health disparities everywhere.
CGH’s commitment to identifying and ending health disparities is a clear through-line in our research activities, capacity building, and collaborative activities. We believe that all disciplines can contribute to this effort. The CGH University Scholar Awards are open to all undergraduate and graduate students on Grounds, supporting scholars from the Schools of Law, Medicine, CLAS, GSAS, Nursing, Batten, Curry, Commerce and Batten.
Since the events of August 2017 in Charlottesville, the Center for Global Health has reflected on how to make our commitment to equity more visible and explicit. Our founder, Dr. Richard Guerrant and his wife, Nancy, have made a substantial gift to catalyze greater faculty participation in work promoting global health equity. We have named this award, The Nancy and Richard Guerrant Professor Award for Global Health Equity. This award will provide the winning faculty members with three years of support for student-engaged work related to global health equity. The inaugural awards will be presented in 2021. In light of our reflections and in concert with this important gift, we have concluded that changing our name to the Center for Global Health Equity is one way to emphasize our long-term commitment to ending health disparities. In addition, we believe that the re-naming will challenge us to foreground equity even more in our activities including student recruitment, choice of projects, and commitment to sustaining reciprocal partnerships.