Researchers from 13 units across the University of Michigan, including the Ford School and entities from all three campuses, gathered for three days of learning and collaboration to develop innovative approaches that address vaccine equity in low- and middle-income countries.

The U-M Center for Global Health Equity (CGHE) hosted the Global Vaccine Equity Ideas Lab, which included 26 researchers and 8 faculty advisors from various disciplines for facilitated discussions leading to an array of novel research and solution-oriented initiatives that can increase vaccine equity globally.

The Center has allocated up to $3 million for transformative ideas developed by participants in the Ideas Lab. Teams formed during the event will be invited to co-design full projects with global partners and receive Center funding for their initiatives.

The Center recruited from all disciplines, seeking participants interested in engaging the complexities of vaccine equity. Previous experience in vaccine-related research was not required.

Ford School professor Shobita Parthasarathy, director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program, was one of the event advisors. “I was really impressed by the teams’ attention to interdisciplinary and bottom-up approaches. University of Michigan, in collaboration with communities around the world, is perfectly poised to develop game-changing initiatives that promote vaccine equity.”

John Ayanian, Director of the Institute for Health Policy and Innovation, CGHE Senior Advisor, and faculty by courtesy at the Ford School was also an advisor to the event.

“Addressing vaccine and vaccination inequities will require truly multidisciplinary solutions, which is why I’m so excited about the composition of faculty participating in this upcoming event,” said Matthew L. Boulton, senior associate dean for Global Public Health in the School of Public Health and lead advisor for the Ideas Lab. “The Center has developed a unique initiative to develop innovative approaches that address what represents one of the greatest contemporary challenges facing the public health and medical communities.”

The CGHE summarized the event.