About the Center

The Center for Policy Impact in Global Health, based at the Duke Global Health Institute, is an innovative policy lab that addresses critical challenges in financing and delivering global health.

Our mission is to improve global health by addressing major strategic questions to inform evidence-based policy change.

Our vision is that targeted health policymakers, at national and global levels, make decisions informed by our work that improve the health of the poor.

Our analytic work and policy dialogue/engagement aims to address three important gaps in global health financing:

  • A gap in financing crucial but neglected “global functions” that benefit the poor
  • A “middle income gap” that can arise when countries graduate from development assistance for health­
  • A domestic health financing gap in low-income countries and middle-income countries.

See how we work: our theory of change
and our technical focus areas.

The Challenges

Our work links policy analysis with policy engagement to address critical challenges in the organization, financing, and delivery of global health.

Our research focuses particularly on:

  • The financing of global public goods for health, such as research and development for poverty-related and neglected diseases
  • The value of investing in health, including investments in health innovation
  • The four major health transitions that middle-income countries are navigating: shifts in diseases, demography, development assistance for health, and domestic health financing (the “4D’s” of global health transition).

Developing Solutions

To help mobilize and target financing to improve the health of the most vulnerable populations, the Center addresses these challenges through:

Policy analysis:  The Center’s multi-disciplinary research team and its international collaborators conduct a wide range of studies to better understand these challenges and to design, prototype and model solutions to help solve them.

Policy engagement: To maximize the relevance, impact, and sustainability of our work, we actively collaborate with global health thought leaders, health and financing experts, and in-country partners inside and outside government.

How We Work: Our Theory of Change

Country alignment: We build partnerships and relationships with in-country researchers, policymakers, and “evidence brokers” (those who bridge the research-policy gap).

Intense policy engagement: We conduct strategic science (“research designed to address gaps in knowledge important to policy decisions”) linked to country and donor decision-making processes and timelines.

Identifying windows of opportunity: We take advantage of windows of opportunity for influencing policy dialogues and debates, both at the national and international levels.


Technical Focus Areas

  • Development assistance for health (DAH): tracking flows, estimating financing needs, improving the impact
  • Global public goods for health, including product development for neglected diseases: understanding key priorities, tracking funding flows and needs, developing new approaches to resource mobilization
  • Transition in middle-income countries: understanding the implications of interlinked transitions in disease epidemiology, demography, DAH, and domestic health financing
  • Achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and strengthening health systems
  • The unfinished agenda of infectious diseases, and reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH): a health systems and UHC perspective
  • The emerging agenda of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) a health systems and UHC perspective

Our Funders

The Center and its Director have been funded by the University of Washington, the Global Health Technologies Coalition, the Qatar Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Duke Global Health Institute and a small family foundation that has requested anonymity.