To mark two decades of work, the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) has updated its mission, vision, and branding. This move also reflects I-TECH’s new three-year strategy, with includes the continued growth of I-TECH’s portfolio into technical areas that expand the boundaries of “global public health.”
“While supporting access to health care for communities and individuals continues to be a critical part of our mission, our new mission recognizes that individual and community health is not just about seeking care at a health facility,” says Ivonne Ximena “Chichi” Butler, MPH, Associate Center Director of I-TECH. “It is about recognizing the whole individual, their family and community, their environment, addressing obstacles to health care and wellbeing—these are all part of the broader definition of what it is to be healthy.”
Mission: I-TECH fosters healthier communities around the world through equitable partnerships in research, training and public health practice.
Building on deep experience in health workforce development; training; and prevention, care, and treatment, I-TECH has steadily increased its work in additional fields that enable strong health systems and address emerging threats. These include laboratory and diagnostics, global One Health interventions, and health information systems. I-TECH also supports efforts to address mental health and other issues that affect health and well-being, particularly among adolescent girls and young women.
A key to this holistic approach is meaningful partnership, said Ms. Butler. “Our new mission puts special emphasis on equitable partnerships with the end users as well as ministries of health and local leadership priorities coming first,” she continues. “Needs and gaps are being defined by the communities, and interventions must center those communities to inform locally led development efforts for long-lasting change. That means not just local institutions, but also those seeking care.”
I-TECH’s new color scheme also aligns the organization more closely with the University of Washington. “Our move to a purple-driven colorway is an amplification of our identity as a UW center,” says Anne Fox, I-TECH’s Assistant Director of Communications. “I-TECH has always sought cross-disciplinary partnerships, and that is only increasing as we expand our scope.”
Vision: I-TECH envisions a healthy world in which all people and communities flourish.
With I-TECH’s strategic focus on advancing health equity, efforts to end the HIV epidemic, greater integration of mental health, expanding digital solutions to meet health system needs, and addressing emerging public health threats, a vision that acknowledges influences beyond the health care system is warranted, says Pamela Collins, MD, MPH, Executive Director of I-TECH and Director of the UW Consortium for Global Mental Health.
“As our community reconsidered our vision, we wanted to capture a more holistic vision of health, and ‘flourishing’ conveys this,” says Dr. Collins. “Flourishing is about not just physical health, but also emotional health and wellbeing—being engaged with life. Importantly, it requires having the right social, physical, and built environment in which to feel good and grow.”