The beginning of a Women’s Global Health Institute on campus, the first and only program of its kind, was announced Friday.
The Women’s Global Health Institute will be a research institution concerning health problems related to women. The institute will start out by focusing on four platforms of women’s health – bone health, women’s cancers, neurodegenerative diseases and wellness.
Connie Weaver, head of the department of nutrition science, will be the director for the newly created institute.
“(The institute) will combine the resources of a college and the broad research of Discovery Park,” Weaver said.
This organization will seek to advance research in women’s health globally. The addition of this program will benefit Purdue students’ education through the inclusion of future training with the institute that will be offered to students concerning women’s health research.
Susan Bulkeley Butler, alumna and former University trustee, donated the $500,000 for the creation of the institute and also an additional $12,500 a year for a pilot grant program for research. Butler said she decided to donate the money for this new institution due to the proven lack of research in women’s health compared to men’s health.
“As a result of work in this area, I have been surprised by the inequality in (women’s health research),” Butler said.
This is a part of the reason the institute was established and the creation of its motto, “Every woman has the right to health.”
According to Weaver, their goal is to not just help women who are financially stable, but also women who lack resources for health. Butler and Weaver both believe that Purdue’s strong technology, engineering and sciences married to health will accomplish these goals.
“This places Purdue on yet one more leading front,” Butler said.
Though the institute was officially started on Friday, the new program does not have an actual building yet. The expansion to a building will be considered as the program advances and pursues its goal of $10 million to support the institution.
For now the team leading the institute wants to focus on changing the visibility of women’s health by starting with the creation of the Women’s Global Health Institute at Purdue.
“The timing is right for health,” Weaver said.