Murray, Former Director of Global Health Initiative, Joins Univ. of WA Faculty

Christopher J. L. Murray ’83, former director of the Harvard Initiative for Global Health and the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, joined the faculty of the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle on May 1.

Murray is now head of UW’s new Health and Metrics Evaluation Institute, an institute that will evaluate global and national initiatives and strategies to improve global health. He is also a professor in UW’s Department of Global Health, a joint department between the School of Medicine and School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

The board of regents at UW approved his appointment last Thursday, UW spokesman Norman G. Arkan said.

“The reason I’m going is, the opportunity to build up an institute that’s devoted to this neglected dimension of global health is very exciting,” Murray said. “I think there’s increasingly a critical mass of people dedicated to different dimensions of global health in the Seattle area, so it’s an exciting place to be.”

Murray was to head a similar institute at Harvard, but saw those plans fall through when Oracle Corporation CEO Larry Ellison rescinded a promise to provide $115 million in funding after the departure of former University President Lawrence H. Summers caused him to lose confidence in Harvard’s administration.

“I’ve worked with Chris Murray since the early 1990s, first on tuberculosis and then over the years on global health policy,” Barry R. Bloom, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, wrote in an e-mail. “Chris has the deep conviction, which I share, that health metrics and evidence are perhaps the most fundamental means by which people can hold their governments accountable for their health. He is one of those rare academics who really changed the world.”

Arkan said that the Health and Metrics Evaluation Institute received about 6 million dollars from the state of Washington, and is still awaiting response to a funding proposal the university sent to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Arkan said that Murray will be earning a total of over $400,000 a year at UW.

UW Department of Medicine spokeswoman Clare Hagerty said that the department will not have any further information on the institute until early June.

Murray attended both Harvard College and Harvard Medical School before joining the Harvard faculty in 1991. He also spent five and a half years at the World Health Organization.