Information about the
Women's Global Health Imperative
The Women’s Global Health Imperative
(WGHI) is a global research center based in the Global Health
Sciences at the
University of California, San
Francisco (UCSF). Our mission is to improve the reproductive
health of vulnerable women around the globe by:
collaborative research to strengthen the reproductive health program
Developing and evaluating public health
Studying gender and economic inequity;
Building international capacity;
Providing training and mentoring
WGHI pursues prevention through international
operations. Currently WGHI conducts over 20 research projects in
the Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, South
Africa, Tibet, the United States, and Zimbabwe. The distribution of our research
reflects the fact that, in sub-Saharan Africa, over 50% of those
infected with HIV are women and girls, and South Asia, Latin
America, and the Caribbean have burgeoning epidemics. Lessons
learned in these low-resource settings can help us fight the
epidemic abroad and at home.
WGHI is the major research institution
exclusively dedicated to developing innovative health initiatives
that address gender imbalances and to using expanded educational and
economic options for women as effective means to fight disease and
promote reproductive health.
Across the globe, WGHI conducts rigorous research
and training related to HIV/AIDS, gender, reproductive health, and
including primary research, descriptive studies and prevention
science. This research is used to design and rapidly implement
practical and effective prevention and treatment strategies for
women at risk of HIV/AIDS, STIs, unintended pregnancies, and
Study HIV/AIDS and STIs in the context of reproductive health.
Develop and evaluate gender-sensitive health promotion
programs for women that are designed to prevent HIV/AIDS and STIs as
well as to promote reproductive health.
Prioritize research on microbicides and other
female-controlled methods of prevention.
Implement research on the effectiveness and acceptance of
microbicides and other female-controlled methods of prevention of
HIV/AIDS, STIs, and unintended pregnancies.
Emphasize economic development and economic opportunity as
part of HIV/AIDS and STI prevention.
Develop HIV/AIDS, STI, and reproductive health prevention programs that focus
on economic development and economic opportunities including job
training, micro-financing, and education initiatives for women and
Preventing maternal mortality.
Develop prevention strategies focused on preventing obstetric
hemorrhage and creating safe birthing environments for women.
Promote human rights through HIV/AIDS
and STI prevention.
Incorporate policy interventions to promote human rights for
women in the design of HIV/AIDS, STIs, unintended pregnancies, and
maternal mortality prevention interventions.
Nancy Padian, Ph.D., is the executive director of
University of California, San Francisco's (UCSF) Women's Global
Health Imperative (WGHI). She
is also Associate Director of Research for the UCSF Global Health
Sciences, Director of International Programs at the UCSF AIDS Research
Institute (ARI), co-director of the
UCSF Center for Reproductive Health Research and Policy,
and a Professor in the UCSF Departments of
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.
Dr. Padian is an internationally recognized expert in the
heterosexual transmission of HIV and other STIs. For the last 17 years, Dr. Padian has developed and directed a
range of domestic and international research and intervention
projects on sexually transmitted infections, HIV and contraception
in high-risk populations in the U.S. and internationally. In 1994,
she co-founded the the UZ-UCSF Collaborative Research Programme in
Women's Health in Zimbabwe. Her
joint research with the
of Zimbabwe on a program teaching women negotiating strategies
for condom use has been profiled in the
New York Times and
Her current research focuses largely on developing and
evaluating female-controlled methods for disease prevention, such
as the diaphragm and microbicides, along with alternative
strategies for fostering young women's economic independence, and
thus reducing their susceptibility to HIV, STIs, and unwanted
pregnancies. Dr. Padian was elected to the Institute of Medicine
Suellen Miller, CNM, Ph.D., is the
Safe Motherhood Programs at WGHI. Dr. Miller
is a certified nurse midwife and a clinician with
nearly 30 years practice in the United States and
internationally. She is the co-author of the
Foundation's Book for Midwives (2nd Edition, 2005), one
of the most widely used reference books for birth attendants in
the developing world. She has extensive international experience
having worked in the Philippines, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Senegal,
Brazil in all areas of maternal health: research policy, program
development, implementation, and advocacy, and education. She
currently has research programs in the Dominican Republic, Egypt,
Mexico, Nigeria, and Tibet, and is a consultant to the World Health
Organization on their new program on married adolescents and the
Partnership for Safe
Motherhood. Dr. Miller teaches in the MCH Program, School of Public Health,
University of California, Berkeley.
Craig Cohen, M.D.
is an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Obstetrics,
Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of
California, San Francisco. He conducts medical research in two
major areas: female reproductive tract infections and HIV/AIDS
care and support in developing countries. For nine years, based
at the University of Washington he established a research program
in Nairobi, Kenya. This program, known locally as the "PID
project," is based both at the University of Nairobi and Kenya
Medical Research Institute. In addition to conducting research,
the goal of the program is to develop enhance local capacity to
conduct biomedical research through training and infrastructure
development. Overall, the "PID project" employs
approximately 70 full-time staff in Nairobi including
epidemiologists, physicians, nurse-counselors, laboratory
technologists, field workers, data managers, biostatisticians and
Suneeta Krishnan, Ph.D.
is an epidemiologist and a member of the research faculty in the
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the
University of California, San Francisco. She has conducted
community-based research on the links between gender and other
social inequalities and reproductive and sexual health in India.
Dr. Krishnan is currently conducting research on gender-based power
and reproductive health among adults and adolescents in Karnataka
State, India. She is the principal investigator of an NICHD-funded
study on gender-based power and susceptibility to HIV/STIs in
Bangalore, India. Dr. Krishnan is also a co-investigator on studies
related to gender and adolescent girls’ susceptibility to HIV/STIs,
adherence to anti-retroviral therapy, and AIDS-related stigma in
Karnataka State, India.
Dr. Zvavahera Mike Chirenje,
is a gynaecological oncologist recognized internationally for his
work on cervical cancer and HIV/STI prevention studies. He is an
Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and
Gynaecology, University of Zimbabwe. He has been a recipient of
research grants from Rockefeller Foundation, PATH, Commonwealth
Regional Secretariat and WHO. Dr. Chirenje is a Co-founder of the
collaborative program in women’s health between University of
Zimbabwe and UCSF (UZ-UCSF). Currently he is the local Principal
Investigator for HIV Prevention Trials Network on Microbicides
clinical trial funded by NIH.
WGHI is a program of the UCSF
Global Health Sciences, the
AIDS Research Institute (ARI),
the UCSF National Center for
Excellence in Women's Health, and the UCSF
Center for Reproductive
Health Research and Policy.
Based at the AIDS Research Institute at UCSF, the Women’s
Global Health Imperative draws upon a wide range of expertise
within the University and affiliated researchers around the world. ARI encompasses a dozen research centers and institutes at UCSF
and brings together researchers with expertise in biomedical
sciences, epidemiology, public health policy, and prevention