The Global Burden of Disease 2010 (GBD) Study, featured in this issue of UW Medicine, is a massive compendium of profound insights into the world’s changing health patterns. The study provides a comprehensive and consistent source of information on the global burden of diseases, injuries and risk factors. A collaborative project of researchers worldwide, the study was led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The next phase of the study is under way.
The GBD indicates that global health burdens have shifted markedly. Early mortality caused by factors such as infectious diseases and infant and child mortality has evolved into longer lives with greater incidence of chronic disease and associated health burdens from diet, lack of exercise, high blood pressure and other contemporary factors. These patterns are found both in developed and developing nations.
One of the study’s many striking findings is the increasingly dominant role that musculoskeletal diseases play in health worldwide. The study affirms that musculoskeletal disease, such as low back pain and neck pain, is the second greatest cause of disability globally.
This finding intersects with other advances discussed in this issue. UW Medicine recently opened a Sports Medicine Center at the newly renovated Husky Stadium. This high-tech center — not just for athletes but also for all who suffer from chronic and acute musculoskeletal issues — offers an integrated approach to care, including orthopedic surgery, rehabilitation medicine, family medicine, sports medicine, radiology, sports performance and physical therapy. Please visit this new facility that augments services offered at other UW Medicine locations.
A generous gift from SonoSite to engage a musculoskeletal sonographer for orthopedic and other ultrasound work will have a tremendous impact on the Sports Medicine Center and many parts of UW Medicine. Other articles in this issue describe major new activities made possible by generous donors — from the Center for the Intestinal Microbiome for those who suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases, to a professorship for breast cancer research, to new scholarship resources for our medical students.
Thank you for your support of UW Medicine at this time of remarkable advances in medicine. Without our supporters — alumni, donors, faculty, staff, trainees and interested individuals — we would not be able to make the profound progress that occurs at UW Medicine on a daily basis.
Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.
CEO, UW Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Dean of the School of Medicine,
University of Washington