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21st Century Population Leadership Program At UW Funded By $2.3 Million Grant From Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Robert Plotnick, Director of the Center for Studie
University of Washington
Phone: 206.685.2055, 206.616.6169

SEATTLE -- The University of Washington will use a $2.3 million grant from the William H. Gates Foundation to develop a five-year program to train experts in women's health to improve the lives of women and children around the world.

The new program, called Population Leadership for the 21st Century, will involve the UW's Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs and School of Public Health and Community Medicine. Also participating will be the Seattle nonprofit PATH, the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health.

To meet critical leadership needs, the program will enable the UW to bring 40 fellows—10 each year starting in the fall of 2000—to study in Seattle, according to Robert Plotnick, director of the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology and director of the new program.

"The commitment to training population leaders has declined in the last 10 to 15 years with cuts in federal and international spending," Plotnick said.

"This program will provide a year of intensive leadership training to young professionals from developing countries who are committed to women's health and related policy areas. Fellows will return home with a much stronger understanding of these areas and significantly enhanced leadership, analytic and management skills. We think it will offer them an express lane to leadership in their home countries."

The heart of the new program will be a yearlong seminar in family planning, reproductive health and related issues drawing on a range of disciplines and perspectives at the UW. Critical applied issues include planning, implementation, leadership, agency management, public-private partnerships, managing the political environment and evaluation. In addition, fellows will be matched with UW faculty mentors and work part-time in an agency to gain practical experience.

"We believe this program can make a significant contribution in training the next generations of leaders for progressive population, family planning and reproductive health policies," said Plotnick.

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