IHME Post-Bachelor Fellows creating a new generation of "skeptical optimists"
The Lancet publishes fellows’ blueprint for tackling global health problems with new ideas
November 19, 2009–Post-Bachelor Fellows at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) have planted their flag in the global health landscape in a forceful comment, Skeptical optimism: a new take on global health data, published in The Lancet that invites a new generation of "skeptical optimists" to change the way health problems are measured.
The fellows were invited by Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, to write a comment for the journal earlier this year. The Comment was made available online Nov. 11 and will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal.
The essay describes how facts about trade, the weather, and popular culture are readily available but accurate health data remain elusive. They argue that the way to solve "the irony and the urgency of this crisis in available data" is to democratize the process of gathering data, involving policymakers and field workers in low-income countries and helping them focus on raising the level of data quality.
Millions of people around the world saw the work of the IHME Post-Bachelor Fellows in action in October when the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched its "Living Proof" project to highlight success stories in global health. The foundation asked IHME to provide health data for the presentation, and the fellows responded with estimates for child mortality, skilled birth care, and malaria prevention efforts.