Stanford University’s Center for Innovation in Global Health (Stanford Global Health) hosted the inaugural WLGH conference on October 12, 2017, convening 400+ female leaders from 68 countries, representing 250 organizations. “There is no shortage of smart, educated and talented women working in global health. These women bring a different perspective than men, and their perspective is critical if we are going to improve health outcomes around the world,” stated Michele Barry, Stanford University’s Sr. Associate Dean of Global Health and Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) hosted the second conference on November 7-8, 2018, and welcomed 896 delegates to the conference, from 76 countries and over 80 nationalities.
Rwanda’s University of Global Health Equity will host the first regional WLGH Conference on November 9 -10 2019, as WLGH begins to alternate annually between global and regional hosts. The Rwanda conference brings greater focus to themes pertinent to leadership for women in Africa.
All conferences are guided by an international steering committee and supported by an array of donors.
Conference participants from around the world represent diverse sectors in global health, including academia, government, non-governmental organizations, philanthropy, and the private sector. This cross-cutting representation facilitates networking across geographies, disciplines and sectors with a common aim of diversifying leadership to drive innovation and improve health for all.
The participants attend plenary sessions, panel discussions, interactive leadership and skill building workshops, and opportunities for networking and mentoring. Participants encounter cutting-edge thinking in global health; network with potential mentors, collaborators and others in the field; build leadership skills; and wrestle with how to advance women as a force in global health leadership.
There has been a tremendous response to these conferences as women and men leaders seek to deepen the pool of talented leaders available to address global health. WLGH is a catalyst for what has become an international movement to ensure that the decision-makers in global health look more like the population whose lives and well-being depend on their decisions.
The way forward
The WLGH conference series will continue to rotate across the globe to address the untapped need for something on a grander scale than was possible at a two-day event. Going forward, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this initiative has a unique opportunity to transform leadership in global health.