Global Health Initiative

At the Global Health Initiative (GHI), we focus our efforts on sharing Henry Ford Health System expertise with our global partners as well as identifying and adapting health innovations from abroad to support long-lasting solutions to many of our local health challenges.

Capacity DevelopmentOur Global Work: Capacity Development

Globally, we aim to address our international partners’ specific needs by offering training that leverages strengths and expertise from across Henry Ford Health System. Topics include:

  • Medical technologies
  • Healthcare leadership
  • Infection control and stewardship
  • Advanced specialties, research, and hospital administration.

We frequently conduct workshops and training programs abroad, in addition to hosting residents and faculty from our partner institutions. We ensure lasting stability through collaborations with local organizations, sustainable funding, and evaluation.

Reverse InnovationOur Local Work: ‘Reverse’ Innovation

Locally, we address health challenges facing Detroit and Michigan by tapping into the strengths of our global partners, which include ‘reverse’ innovations, cost-effective interventions, prevention strategies, and other wellness program implementations. We often host visiting faculty and residents to learn and share medical expertise, and continue to build lasting relationships. We also host an annual Global Health Symposium that brings together people from across the region who are interested in global and local health for underserved populations.

What Issues Do We Focus On?

There are many health challenges facing our community, country and world. At GHI, we have identified some of the most prevalent needs in southeast Michigan and have chosen to focus our efforts on finding long-term solutions for these problems. 

Infant MortalityInfant mortality

In 2016, the global infant mortality rate was 30.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. The risk of a child dying before completing their first birthday was highest in the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region (52 per 1,000 live births), which is over six times higher than that in the WHO European Region (8 per 1,000 live births). The infant mortality rate in Detroit for all races is 13.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 5.9 deaths for the United States overall. African American women in Detroit are four times more likely to deliver a pre-term baby than white women.

Mental HealthMental health

Globally, around 300 million people suffer from mental illnesses, a number that continues to rise. Approximately one in five adults in the U.S. – or 43.8 million Americans –experiences mental illness in a given year. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that of Michigan’s nearly 10 million residents, 348,000 adults live with serious mental illness and 112,000 children live with serious mental health conditions. Of the nearly 20,000 homeless living within the city of Detroit, nearly one-third are mentally ill.

Metabolic HealthMetabolic health

Globally, cardiovascular disease and stroke are the leading causes of death, respectively. Obesity, hypertension and diabetes are also rising at alarming rates. Excess body fat increases one’s risk of several metabolic conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In 2016, 32.5 percent of Michigan residents were considered obese, representing the tenth highest obesity rate in the country. Comparably, 34.2 percent of Wayne County residents were obese in 2015.


According to the United Nations, approximately 36.7 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2016. In the State of Michigan, the prevalence of HIV continues to rise, with an estimated 15,600 people living with the virus in 2016. There are almost 15,000 new cases of STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, & syphilis) and over 200 new HIV cases reported to the health department in the city of Detroit each year. Youth, African Americans, gay and bisexual men, and transgender women are at increased risk.

AntimicrobialResistanceAntimicrobial Resistance

By the year 2050, global deaths due to drug-resistant infections are projected to lead to more deaths than cancer. These deaths occur more often in low- and middle-income countries due to factors including poverty and limited resources.

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