UNC-Chapel Hill is committed to improving health in North Carolina and around the world. The Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases at UNC seeks to advance this goal by promoting global health research, teaching, and service activities across campus. IGHID recognizes that the most pressing health challenges and emerging diseases know no boundaries. As citizens of a globally interconnected world, health problems around the world affect us here at home.
IGHID fosters an environment in which faculty, students, and the broader university community work together in unique, innovative ways to address critical issues in global health.
The mission of the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases is to harness the full resources of the University and its partners to solve global health problems, reduce the burden of disease, and cultivate the next generation of global health leaders.
In 2002 the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors adopted “internationalization” as one of six strategic directions for its long-range plan. With the support of then UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser, the university made globalization one of its highest priorities.
The Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases (IGHID) was established in 2007. At that time, health affairs faculty were already working successfully in well over 50 countries, and Chancellor Moeser declared Carolina a “world power in global health” (read the official press release). The institute was created as a pan-university organization that would bolster existing global health efforts and complement the globalization of the main campus.
With initial flagship programs in Malawi, China, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, the IGHID has expanded its footprint in those countries and around the world. In 2012, IGHID recruited an entire team of internationally recognized global health researchers working in Zambia. The majority of the faculty recruits are obstetrician-gynecologists and seven of the nine live in Zambia full time. The addition of this team, combined with two new full-time OB-GYNs in Malawi, means that UNC now boasts the largest global women’s health division.
The backbone of IGHID’s portfolio has always been in the area of HIV/AIDS, and UNC is home to a top-10 ranked AIDS program. In May 2011, IGHID researchers announced a major discovery in the fight against HIV/AIDS, proving a concept that had long been debated: that treating people for HIV makes them less infectious. The study, HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 052, demonstrated that early treatment of HIV with antiretroviral therapy reduces sexual transmission by 96 percent. IGHID director Myron Cohen is the architect and principal investigator of this large, international study. In December 2011, HPTN 052 was named scientific “Breakthrough of the Year” by the prestigious journal Science. The study and its findings have inspired the world to hope for an AIDS-free generation.
In 2013, the UNC Center for Infectious Diseases and Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases merged under the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases. The merger creates a combined organization that has approximately $60 million in research revenue, more than 75 affiliated faculty members, and strong, sustainable programs on four continents. The IGHID is well-positioned to have a substantial impact on the health of people around the world.