Global Initiatives

Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal was built in the seventeenth century in memory of Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Shah Jahan who died during the child birth of their fourteenth child.

Every minute of every day, one woman in the world dies of maternal death and this fact remains unchanged despite more than 20 years of safe motherhood programs worldwide.  Maternal mortality is the health indictor with the greatest disparity between developed and developing countries.  Through the Global Initiatives program, the University of Michigan Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has become a leader in promoting global maternal health and is one of the only a few departments nationwide with an active commitment to improving maternal mortality nationwide.

“For us, obstetricians and midwives who serve the health 
needs of women in under-served regions, maternal mortality 
is not statistics.  It is not numbers…Maternal Mortality is people.
It is women, women who have names, women who have faces 
and we have seen these faces in the throes of agony, distress, 
and despair.”

Dr. Mahmoud Fathalla, World Health Day, April 7, 1998

Authentic Engagement in Global Health

Under the direction of Frank J. Anderson, M.D., M.P.H., the Global Initiatives program at the University of Michigan has a mission to collaborate with developing countries in research and programs to reduce maternal mortality.  Dr. Anderson describes, “Our philosophy is always working as a partnership, both sides working together in a relationship, that is the Michigan Difference.”    Unlike many short-term clinical models utilized by other programs, the University of Michigan Obstetrics and Gynecology Global Initiatives program encompasses a deeper engagement that involves collaborative priority setting and problem solving among the visiting physician team, the communities of patients they serve, and local professional caregivers to achieve shared, long-term goals. 

Michigan in Ethiopia: A blog chronicling researchers and students partnering with medical professionals in this East African country

For University of Michigan Faculty and Students interested in Maternal Mortality, Click Here to access our CTools reference page

For others, Click Here to register for a Friends Account, then access the link above

A History of Collaboration

The University of Michigan Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology has a long-term partnership with the University of Ghana, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology School of Medical Sciences (KUST), and the Ministry of Health of Ghana. It started through a Carnegie Foundation-funded program in partnership with universities in the United States and Great Britain, including the University of Michigan. The program assisted in the development of postgraduate training in ob-gyn in Ghana. Before ob-gyn training occurred in Ghana, physicians went out of the country to train and most did not return. Since in-country training started in 1986, 81 of 83 Ghanaian ob-gyn physicians certified in Ghana have remained in-country. This partnership has no doubt yielded numerous health benefits for Ghanaians and has provided a platform for ongoing and expanding research into human resources for health. 

Click here to read an article from The Journal of the International Institute entitled U-M Medicine: Long-term Partnerships in Ghana


Click here to read about the Ghana-Michigan Charter for Collaboration


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