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Gary L. Darmstadt, MD, MS, is Associate Dean for Maternal and Child Health, and Professor of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He recently led the Steering Committee for The Lancet Series on Gender Equality, Norms and Health. Previously Dr. Darmstadt was Senior Fellow in the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), where he catalyzed gender equality programs including establishment of Grand Challenges on Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development. Prior to this role, he served as BMGF Director of Family Health, leading strategy development and implementation across nutrition, family planning and maternal, newborn and child health.Darmstadt was formerly Associate Professor and Founding Director of the International Center for Advancing Neonatal Health in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has trained in Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, in Dermatology at Stanford University, and in Pediatric Infectious Disease as a fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he also was Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine.
Major new visibility on the importance of investing in women and girls has created new opportunities to accelerate advances in health and development of nations around the world. A more intentional approach to addressing gender norms and gender inequalities in policies, programs and research is critical to this effort. We are working with the Lancet to develop a series of papers on the following topics:1. Unlocking human potential through shaping gender norms2. Unlocking gender norm data3. Unlocking gender norm change to achieve health and development impact at scale4. Unlocking gender norm change in systems to ensure sustainability of health and development impact5. Unlocking global action to shape gender norms and optimize health and development across the life courseThrough these papers, we hope to i) propose a conceptual framework for associations between gender norms, gender inequalities and health and development, ii) place the development and shaping of gender norms and gender equality in historical perspective, iii) define the global scope and size of issues of unhealthy gender norms and gender inequalities across the life course (with a focus on early childhood, adolescence, and early and late adulthood), including costs of inaction, in high, middle and low-income countries, iv) synthesize the existing evidence for approaches to shape gender norms, v) quantify the benefits of addressing unhealthy gender norms and gender inequalities for women, girls, men and boys, vi) calculate the cost to implement these solutions at scale, vii) define global metrics, and viii) develop a concrete action plan to advance healthy gender norms as well as health and development of women, men, girls and boys, and of societies worldwide.
Topical emollient therapy in the management of severe acute malnutrition: A randomized controlled clinical trial in Bangladesh to test whether rehabilitation from severe acute malnutrition can be accelerated through topical applications of sunflower seed oil.
WaSH Up! is a partnership between Sesame Street, World Vision, and Stanford University to reduce child disease and death by ensuring children have access to safe water and sanitation by practice healthy behaviors relators to water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH). Sesame Workshop has worked to created a new Muppet character named Raya, a girl ambassador who promotes safe WaSH practices. Sesame Workshop with World Vision announces a commitment to roll out WaSH Up! across 15 countries in the next six years. The team at Stanford University will be the primary evaluator and research partner, investigating school- and community-based interventions. Stanford will contribute a strong theoretical grounding leading to improvementsin program design and impact, to design a rigorous evaluation of the program’s impacts, and toidentify and pursue complementary research opportunities.
To building on existing programs and collaborations between the Rural Education and Action Program (REAP) and the Chinese government to pilot, deliver, and evaluate an integrated, community-based program for children 0-3 years in existing parenting center in rural China.
The 2016 Lancet Early Childhood Development Series highlights early childhood development at a time when it has been universally endorsed in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. This Series considers new scientific evidence for interventions, building on the findings and recommendations of previous Lancet Series on child development (2007, 2011), and proposes pathways for implementation of early childhood development at scale. The Series emphasises 'nurturing care', especially of children below three years of age, and multi-sectoral interventions starting with health, which can have wide reach to families and young children through health and nutrition.
The Stanford University (SU) School of Medicine “Co-Creation” group will employ a mixed quantitative and qualitative methods approach to analyze/mine existing data sets, dialogue with implementers and evaluators, and share the knowledge and data gained from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)-funded Ananya program in Bihar, India. SU will conduct this analysis to disseminate learning from Ananya to inform the scale-up of national and global family health (reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition, RMNCHN) interventions. In close collaboration with the BMGF India Country Office (ICO), and Ananya implementation and evaluation partners, SU will analyze and synthesize a range of existing data sources, which – together with the primary qualitative data we will collect – will inform the development of core peer-reviewed articles and additional papers and policy briefs. These insights will help the BMGF Program Strategy Teams (PSTs), the government of Bihar, Ananya grantees, and the broader global health community make evidence-informed decisions to optimize the coverage, quality and impact of their investments in improving maternal and child health outcomes.
Major goals: 1) Create word embeddings for gendered terms utilizing East-African corpora of media data to gain insights into the ways different gender groups may be perceived and labelled in the region; 2) create a database of word embeddings trained on publicly available sources, focusing on Kenya; 3) overlay relevant country-level statistics to assess how gender stereotypes identified through word embeddings reflect gender-inequitable behavior in the region, and 4) measure bias contained in embeddings of words related to women and men separately as they compare to embeddings containing neutral words
Major goals: Consolidate and strengthen the evidence base on the impact and cost-effectiveness of WECs, through three streams of work: (a) design and implement a portfolio evaluation, (b) serve as an evaluation anchor to provide technical assistance to BMGF and evaluation teams supported by BMGF, and (c) contribute to the global evidence base through synthesizing existing research and producing research based on primary data.
Major goals: Landscape WEE in East Africa, including a mapping of gender equality researchers, policies, programs, practitioners, data, publications, media coverage and funders.
Major goals: Support expansion of the BMGF’s gender integration work through development of an on-demand model for technical assistance and learning on gender integration. Support program teams to become gender intentional; develop customized gender integration tools, disseminate key lessons learned, and provide strategic support to leadership to set appropriate targets, measures and accountability mechanisms.
Major goals: Investigate approaches to improve the methodology, and demonstrate the feasibility of using newborn blood spots, cord blood and/or maternal blood to estimate gestational age of newborns in Africa and Asia through metabolic and computational analysis in collaboration with the Ottawa Hospital Research Initiative and the Ontario Newborn Screening Program.
Africa and Asia
Majors goals: 1) Identify a potential set of evidence-based interventions for reducing HAIs in neonates in low- and middle-income countries; 2) Perform a pilot study to test interventions at three facilities in Bangladesh to assess their acceptance, feasibility, and cost; and select interventions to bundle for implementation; 3) Conduct a baseline evaluation to assess current incidence of HAIs and identify current newborn care practices, and then evaluate the efficacy of the selected bundle of interventions to reduce HAIs and mortality in neonatal wards and NICUs at three hospitals in Bangladesh; 4) Engage frontline hospital staff across the three facilities in a collaborative effort to integrate a sustainable culture of quality improvement into neonatal wards/NICUs at all three hospitals.
Major goals: To build on existing programs and collaborations between the Rural Education and Action Program (REAP) and the Chinese government to pilot, deliver, and evaluate an integrated, community-based health, nutrition and child stimulation program for children 0-3 years in rural China.
Maternal & Child Health
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Islamic Development Bank
Water, Health, & Development
WHD, Sesame Workshop, World Vision
Child Health Research Foundation
Newborns in Bangladesh, Pakistan, & India
Treatment of Severe Acute Malnutition
Under-2 Children in Bangladesh
I have extensive experience in the development of global health innovations and in working to test and scale-up health interventions. At Stanford University, I am playing a leading role in developing global women and children’s health research and educational programs, including the establishment of a Global Center for Gender Equality at Stanford University. My research focuses on advancing child health and development in low resource settings and advancing gender equality and health globally, and includes several applications of artificial intelligence. Before joining Stanford, I was Senior Fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), where I led the development of initiatives to address gender inequalities and empower women and girls. Prior to this role, I served as the BMGF Director of Family Health, leading strategy development and implementation across maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition, and family planning. In this role, I was responsible for investments ranging from scientific discovery to intervention development and delivery of interventions at scale. I worked closely with the Discovery team to shape discovery and development investments and was a co-founder of the Saving Lives at Birth Development Grand Challenge, the Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development Grand Challenge, and the Healthy Birth, Growth and Development initiative. Based on these experiences, I understand how to identify knowledge gaps and generate evidence of impact for new interventions, and how to utilize evidence to influence the policy dialogue leading to programmatic adoption and scale-up of interventions in low income settings. As Director of Family Health, I also co-led the development and implementation of the BMGF global health strategy for India, which cuts across multiple health and development sectors. Before joining BMGF, I was Associate Professor and Founding Director of the International Center for Advancing Neonatal Health in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. I led the development of newborn health research, including numerous facility- and community-based maternal and child health research trials. Before joining Johns Hopkins, I was Senior Research Advisor for the $50M Saving Newborn Lives program of Save the Children-US, where I led the development and implementation of the global research strategy for newborn health and survival.