Measuring what Matters
Measuring global health and the Global Burden of Disease Study: history, highlights and recent updates
Presented by Professor Christopher Murray
Professor of Global Health, University of Washington; Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
The Global Burden of Disease Study originated in the early 1990s in order to quantify premature death and disability worldwide from various causes, initially as a key input into the 1993 World Development Report of the World Bank. Annual updates now involve over 1500 collaborators worldwide, with the findings published in the Lancet and other leading journals. The Study has had a major impact on debates about global health priorities with numerous national and subnational applications to inform planning. This talk will focus on the origins of the study, and briefly review the many reactions from the global public health and scientific community to the study and its potential applications. A summary of the key findings from the 2015 GBD Study will also be presented using data visualisations.
Professor Chris Murray’s career has focused on improving health for everyone worldwide by improving health evidence. A physician and health economist, his work has led to the development of a range of new methods and empirical studies to strengthen health measurement, analyze the performance of public health and medical care systems, and assess the cost-effectiveness of health technologies.
He is a founder of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) approach, a systematic effort to quantify the comparative magnitude of health loss due to diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and geography over time. His pioneering work with Alan Lopez, to develop the metric to compare death and disability from various diseases and the contribution of risk factors to the overall burden of disease in developing and developed countries, continues to be hailed as a major landmark in public health and an important foundation for policy formulation and priority setting.