Heal Initiative

Investigator: Sriram Shamasunder, MD

Location(s): Malawi; Liberia; Mali; India; Nepal; Mexico; Haiti


Many of the leading causes of death – such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer – in resource-poor countries today are preventable and/or treatable, and have been for decades. Additionally, as the world develops and changes, the medical paradigm has shifted; rather than responding primarily to humanitarian emergencies and infectious diseases, health care providers must now also focus on managing chronic illnesses and creating sustainable health systems. To consistently deliver care to those in need, we must transform our view of global health.     


Our HEAL Initiative aims to address this significant gap with the following actions:

Enhance the skill sets of health professionals in the United States and abroad so they can improve care in resource-poor settings

Enhance the skill sets of local health professionals through structured and unstructured medical and nursing education, including training in quality improvement

Strengthen the capacity of the entire health system through long term relationships between UCSF and our partner organizations on the ground


   The HEAL Initiative works in Native American reservations, prisons, and the poorest villages on our planet. We pair dedicated U.S. providers with local health professionals who are already working in these communities. HEAL fellows work together on the frontline for two years. They develop skills essential to global health delivery through immersive training, an on-line Master’s in Public Health at UC Berkeley, and intensive mentorship. HEAL will be sustainable with scale since we leverage existing funds. HEAL makes serving the poorest of the poor the first choice for health professionals.