In Monday’s Seattle Times, Sandi Doughton reports that “something huge” is happening here.
(Yes, it’s huge here — which is why we’re holding a forum on it tomorrow night at Seattle Town Hall. See that box over to the right there, with the Space Needle? Please come and join the discussion)
The Times article is focused on one of the manifestations of the local hugeness of global health: The UW’s newest academic creation, the Department of Global Health.
Since being launched a scant four years ago, the department has grown to more than 50 faculty and 350 students. More than 900 applicants compete annually for 35 graduate slots and less than two dozen health-statistics fellowships.
And while state budget woes have forced cuts in other departments, funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has allowed Global Health to rapidly expand its course offerings.
“There is something huge happening here,” Judy Wasserheit, the UW department’s vice-chair, told the Times.
Indeed. And as Sandi reports, the UW is not alone. More than 70 American and Canadian universities now offer some kind of global health program. Here’s a list of some of them. Michael Merson, director of Duke University’s Global Health Institute, claimed that all this represents the “birth of a new academic field.”
I’m not so sure about that last part. Continue reading
CLARIFICATION: The grant is to the BBC World Service Trust, the charitable arm of the BBC. The Gates Foundation says it is inaccurate to say they are funding the BBC, but the Trust says it “works in partnership with the BBC World Service, and has access to its weekly audience of 180 million listeners in 32 different languages.” Until I can figure out what this means, I’m letting this story stand as it is.
The Puget Sound Business Journal’s Clay Holtzman reports that the Gates Foundation made its largest ever donation to a media organization, the BBC, in December but didn’t publicize the $19.9 million grant.
As Clay reports, there has been a lot of media attention given lately to the Seattle philanthropy’s funding of media — most recently a comprehensive review of the potential conflicts-of-interest inherent in this practice by the Seattle Times. Clay notes:
When the Seattle Times published a lengthy profile of the Gates Foundation’s grants to professional journalists on Feb. 19, the foundation apparently never disclosed that it had already approved its largest award ever to a media organization.
If you had any doubts about how little the media likes to explain itself, here’s one little piece of news that may help dispel those doubts:
The Seattle Times has quietly pulled the plug on Kristi Heim’s excellent “Business of Giving” blog/column.
OH MY GOD, NO! Continue reading