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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: The Reach of Washington's Global Health Sector

9/13/2011  11:30:00 AM
Joe Mirabella  (206)733-9810

The Reach of Washington's Global Health Sector
Release of Global Health Strategic Mapping and Economic Opportunity Portfolio

Seattle – Today the Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA) and City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development (OED) released their recently completed Global Health Strategic Mapping and Economic Opportunity Portfolio, which quantifies the remarkable reach of Washington's global health sector, as well as identifies business opportunities for local companies in global health.
The Strategic Mapping Portfolio expands upon a 2009 mapping study, with 59 organizations and businesses across Washington State participating, from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Seattle Biomed, to Cascade Designs and SonoSite.

This Strategic Mapping Portfolio demonstrates the growing impact of global health in Washington State and around the world:

  • 59 Washington organizations are conducting global health work in 156 countries;
  • In Washington, 2,979 people work in global health. Outside of the state, these 59 organizations support an additional 17,275 employees;
  • Washington has particular expertise in infectious & chronic disease and developing technologies & devices; and
  • The Washington global health organizations surveyed collaborate with 1,574 partners, located in 111 countries across the world.

"This expanded mapping study not only provides a resource for those working in the field of global health, but hopefully will be a source of pride for all who read it and feel part of the important work that's being done here in our state," said Ken Stuart, Ph.D., founder and president of Seattle BioMed. "It's exciting to see the broader picture of the global health efforts taking place across Washington. This reflects the continued growth of our sector."

The Economic Opportunity Portfolio includes collateral material to help companies understand the types of opportunities in the global health sector and concrete examples of companies who have been able to take advantage of them. This document provides a communication tool to encourage companies not currently engaged to consider opportunities in the global health sector.

"Even in these tough economic times, the global health sector continues to grow, create jobs and offer business opportunities," said Lisa Cohen, executive director of the Washington Global Health Alliance. "We're excited about new collaborations and partnerships between organizations and businesses already involved in global health and those outside of the sector."

The study highlights intersections and opportunities in global health for a number of Washington's leading industries and sectors including: Life Sciences, Information & Communications Technology, Agriculture & Food Processing, Clean Technology and Product Development & Manufacturing.

Among Washington's companies that have found opportunities in global health is Cascade Designs, Inc., a Seattle-based leader in outdoor recreation and military outdoor equipment. In partnership with PATH, Cascade Designs has developed and tested the SE 200 water treatment device in ten developing countries. By focusing on creating a low cost solution, Cascade Designs has found ways to reduce costs and improve quality that can be applied to other markets.

"The global health cluster presents the opportunity to create more high-paying jobs focused on innovation and leverages the region's existing strengths in research, technology and manufacturing." said Steve Johnson, director of Seattle's Office of Economic Development. "The Strategic Mapping and Economic Opportunity Portfolio demonstrates the potential for export and the expansion of markets for existing companies."
This project was funded with a Cluster Grant from the Washington Department of Commerce, We Work for Health Washington, and the Washington Global Health Fund, and the research was conducted by BERK, Inc. of Seattle.

Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA)
WGHA supports collaboration between our partners, local organizations, institutions and companies discovering and developing solutions to the world's health challenges. It seeks to expand research, development and educational opportunities to improve health worldwide. WGHA was formed in 2007 to foster new partnerships within the extraordinary concentration of global health nonprofits, research organizations and educational institutions in Washington State.

City's Office of Economic Development (OED)
OED supports a healthy business environment and empowers companies to succeed and grow. We provide services directly to businesses through advocacy, retention and expansion assistance, and workforce development. OED has several financing options for businesses, including options for small to medium to large businesses. Visit to access city services for businesses, and for more information about our office, visit

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