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Humanistic Perspectives on Global Health Partnerships

Year of Funding: 
Outside of Infectious Diseases Institute, logo with words "celebration of partnership" inside yellow and green circle

Over the past fifteen years, “partnership” has become a core value in the field of global health, signaling a rejection of older, more paternalistic modes of Western health interventions in Africa. However, steep economic and political inequalities make equitable partnerships difficult to achieve. Histories of colonialism, as well as ongoing issues of race and representation within and between the United States and its partners, further complicate efforts to create partnership.

To better understand the history and practices of global health partnerships as well as the challenges they face, this project connects diverse faculty and graduate students from across the University of Washington, along with an international invited keynote speaker. Through two workshops, the keynote lecture, and the web publication of a series of essays, the project examines “partnership” as a programmatic priority and affective ideal in global health initiatives between the United States and African countries.

Given Seattle’s prominence as a hub of global health research and philanthropy, we are particularly interested in understanding partnerships rooted locally at the University of Washington, the Gates Foundation, and other Seattle-area institutions such as PATH and World Vision. We aim to bring humanistic perspectives from history, anthropology, African studies, and science and technology studies to bear on a field—global health—and a value—partnership—that have been largely defined by the health sciences.


Story: Exploring Global Health Partnerships

Africa is a Country essay series on global health partnerships:

Primary Contacts

Lynn Thomas (History)

Johanna Crane (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell) 

Nora Kenworthy (Nursing & Health Studies, UW Bothell)