by Photo courtesy of UC San Diego

The U.S Agency for Internal Development granted UC San Diego a $38 million federal award for a five-year global health study to amplify the voices of low and middle-income people within their communities, health, and development programming. 

This is the largest award ever given to UCSD by USAID, a federal program created by President John F. Kennedy 61 years ago. The programs aim to reduce poverty and encourage sustained economic and social development worldwide. 

The Center on Gender Equity and Health at UCSD's School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science will lead the project “Agency for All”, which intends to address multiple dimensions of health and well-being. 

"This is a spectacular moment," said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. "With this award, UC San Diego can lead in using research to address important social and health issues that result in beneficial change and new policies that make the world a better place."

The International, multi-institutional study will address areas such as maternal and child health, infectious disease, HIV/AIDS, Family planning, and reproductive health. 

Rebecka Lundgren, an applied anthropologist and associate professor of infectious diseases and global public health, will serve as project director.

According to Lundgren, the Center on Gender Equity and Health will coordinate research and implement solutions, informed by local priorities and agendas. 

The project will “look at the complex questions of ‘agency’ and what it means for different people, organizations, and systems around the world, as well as for our own consortium partners," Lundgren said

The geographical areas, or “hubs” in East Africa, West Africa, and South Asia will be the focus of the initiative, while collaborating with specific organizations and networks in those regions, according to UCSD.

These partners include the Centre for Catalyzing Change in India, Evidence for Sustainable Human Development Systems in Africa in Cameroon, Makerere University in Uganda, Matchboxology in South Africa, Sambodhi in India, Shujaaz, Inc. in Kenya, University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, CORE Group, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Promundo-US, Save the Children and Viamo.

“These locally-led partnerships are critical," said Paul Bukuluki, director of research for Agency for All and an associate professor at Makerere University. "We hope to develop context-specific mechanisms for measuring agency, and more effectively evaluate the approaches that help us improve the quality of life of women and men at the margins of society."

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