Johns Hopkins University recently received the highest score among universities on a report card that assigned grades for global health research.
Hopkins scored an A- on the University Report Card: Global Equity and Biomedical Research for 2015, outranking 58 other leading research universities in the U.S.
The report card comes from the student-driven Universities Allied for Essential Medicine. The group formed at Yale in 2001, when students there successfully got permits moving with Bristol-Myers-Squibb to allow generic production of an HIV/AIDS drug in sub-saharan Africa, triggering dramatic price reductions.
Their report card is intended as a call to arms for universities to challenge the typically profit-driven model of drug research and development. As a related blog post from The Lancet notes,, "pharmaceutical companies are increasingly relying on universities to do early stage creative research, which effectively turns publicly funded research into privately owned profit." This system can often get jammed up, the author writes, pointing to the example of Ebola vaccines "sitting on shelves for over a decade, untested on humans," despite West Africa's urgent need for them now.
The UAEM study ranks universities based on three factors: innovation of research, access and licensing, and global health education efforts. Hopkins received an B+, A, and A- in those categories, respectively.
The group calls for increased funding of research focused on low- and middle-income countries, as well as more efforts in licensing of medical innovations to encourage low-cost production.
In UAEM's first such report card, released two years ago, Hopkins scored a B, the highest score of any U.S. university (a distinction it shared with four others).
Emory University; University of Washington, Seattle; and Harvard University received a grade of B+ on this year's report.