What is “Global Health”?

According to the World Health Organization, today there is a 36-year gap in life expectancy between countries. A child born in Malawi can expect to live only 47 years, while a child born in Japan can expect to live 83 years. Each day, 21,000 children die before the age of 5 because of pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea, and other diseases. But these diseases do not equally affect all children: Children from in the poorest 20% of households are nearly twice as likely to die before the age of five as children from the wealthiest 20 percent. In Chad, for example, 20% of children die before they reach the age of 5, while in European countries, only 1% of children do not reach their fifth birthday.

Within the United States, persistent health disparities also exist between individuals of different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Infants born to African American women are 1.5 to 3 times more likely to die than babies born to women of other ethnicities. African American men are more likely to die from prostate cancer than White men, and Hispanic women are more than 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer than white women.

The Challenge

The challenge for this category is to describe an action-oriented, inter-disciplinary project that would help alleviate a global health concern among low-resource communities. Proposals submitted to this category should a) demonstrate an evidence of a widespread health concern faced by low-income populations or low-resource communities, and b) develop a system, plan, or technology that addresses this problem that is both culturally appropriate within the target communities, and appropriate for low-resource settings.

Examples of proposals include (but are not limited to):

  • A medical innovation project that promotes effective diagnosis or treatment of a specific physical or mental illness.
  • A public health containment effort or surveillance technique to address infectious disease epidemics.
  • A public health prevention project that raises awareness about how to reduce the risk of contracting illness among at-risk populations.
  • An economic, public policy or advocacy-based initiative that aims to reduce barriers to accessing effective health services in underserved communities.


The “Global Health” category is open to all matriculated students across the 10-campus University of California system, as well all matriculated students from Makerere University.

Multidisciplinary teams are strongly encouraged.   For additional information about general contest rules, timing and how to apply, please refer to the Contest Application Requirements.

Past Winners

Visualize: Saving Lives with Training for Cervical Cancer Screening (UC Berkeley)

Visualize: Saving Lives with Training for Cervical Cancer Screening (UC Berkeley)

FloGlow (UC Berkeley)

FloGlow (UC Berkeley)

PedalTap (Makerere University)

PedalTap (Makerere University)

More Winners


USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.

The Blum Center for Developing Economies
The Blum Center links world-class faculty, inspiring new curriculum, and innovative technologies, services and business models to create real-world solutions for developing economies.