Mission & Background

The Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) is a rapidly growing Washington, DC based organization of over 145 academic institutions and other organizations from around the world engaged in addressing global health challenges. CUGH was established in 2008 with generous funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation.

MISSION: CUGH builds interdisciplinary collaborations and facilitates the sharing of knowledge to address global health challenges. It assists members in sharing their expertise across education, research, and service. It is dedicated to creating equity and reducing health disparities everywhere. CUGH promotes mutually beneficial, long-term partnerships between universities in resource-rich and resource-poor countries, developing human capital and strengthening institutions' capabilities to address these challenges. It is committed to translating knowledge into action.

VISION: Supporting the university as a transforming force in global health.

Please email us at info@cugh.org to request copies of CUGH Governing Documents and Annual Filings. The most recent Annual Report is attached below.


CUGH is a product of the expanding interest in global health. The concept of an association of universities involved in global health was first introduced in 2005 when Dr. Gerald Keusch invited leaders from the foremost US and Canadian university-based global health centers to a meeting at Boston University to discuss whether a consortium should be formed.

Two years later, in September 2007, Dr. Jaime Sepulveda chaired an international conference of global health experts in San Francisco, co-hosted by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Global Health Sciences (GHS), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). During the conference, funding was secured from the BMGF to develop initial planning for the consortium and to hold an Inaugural Meeting in September 2008 in San Francisco. The Inaugural Meeting brought together representatives from 24 universities along with individuals from the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, the Fogarty International Center, and the Gladstone Institute. The participants generated a vision for the organization and provided the impetus to establish a board of directors and a formal consortium structure. Following that meeting, the Rockefeller Foundation provided a grant to help sustain the nascent consortium and enable it to move to formal incorporation as a non-profit entity.

CUGH’s first Annual Meeting was held on September 14-15, 2009 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Made possible in part by a BMGF Conference Grant, the meeting entitled “Future of Global Health: Funding, Development, Research, and Education,” was attended by 287 participants. The first steps to enroll dues-paying institutional members were taken at Bethesda when CUGH’s membership program was introduced. In 2010, under the direction of then-CUGH Chair Haile Debas, UCSF was awarded a three-year grant from the BMGF to accelerate the development of CUGH.

In 2009, CUGH also entered into merger discussions with the Global Health Education Consortium (GHEC). This group was founded in 1991 to facilitate and enhance global health education in health professional schools and residency programs. The merger presented the opportunity to combine the best ideas, programs, policies, and procedures from each organization and to consider new ideas and programs. The first formal step toward a CUGH-GHEC merger took place on January 4, 2011 when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed, creating a general framework and process to discuss and negotiate the merger. Several committees were formed to provide guidance and contribute to the merger process. In December 2011, the merger between CUGH and GHEC was completed and called CUGH. Results of the merger included a stronger membership base and the expansion of educational resources. In late 2011, the Secretariat moved to Washington, DC and Dr. Keith Martin was hired as its Executive Director.

In April 2016, CUGH held is Seventh Annual Global Health Conference in San Francisco, CA entitled “Bridging to a Sustainable Future in Global Health”. Over 1,800 people from a broad range of disciplines, institutions and countries attended the conference. The 2017 conference will take place April 7-9, with satellite sessions on April 6, in Washington, DC and the 2018 conference will be in New York City, NY.