Skip to main content
Sign In

Colorado School of Public Health


WHO Collaborating Center

Promoting Family & Child Health

"In everything we do, WHO relies on the expertise of hundreds of formal WHO Collaborating Centres, in your countries, and thousands of the best brains in science, medicine, and public health, in your countries. They give us their time freely and it is my strong impression that they do so with pride." 

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General, address to the Sixty-fourth World Health Assembly, 16 May 2011


The maternal and child health division within the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Global Health was designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a WHO Collaborating Center for Promoting Family and Child Health.

The division, which is a partnership between Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Colorado School of Public Health, is one of only two programs in the Americas to receive this designation in maternal and child health.

With the new designation, the center’s maternal and child health division will focus on four major program outcomes in partnership with the WHO and its regional affiliate, the Pan American Health Organization:

• Assist countries in reducing health inequality and excessive morbidity and mortality among mothers, infants, children and adolescents;

• Accelerate vaccine research and implementation;

• Train vulnerable communities and countries in disaster preparedness in ways that will meet the needs of children; and

• Train doctors, nurses, midwives and other birth attendants in the Helping Babies Breathe program, to reduce neonatal asphyxia.

The center’s maternal and child health initiative is co-directed by Eric Simoes, MB, BS, DCH, MD, professor of pediatrics, section of pediatric infectious disease and Susan Niermeyer, MD, MPH, FAAP, professor of pediatrics, section of neonatology.

Associate Director Edwin J Asturias, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, section of pediatric infectious disease and Senior Investigator Wayne Sullender, MD, FAAP, professor of pediatrics, section of pediatric infectious disease.

Director of maternal health programs Gretchen Heinrichs, MD, DTMH, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology.

To read the entire press release, click here.

What is the WHO?

When diplomats met in San Francisco to form the United Nations in 1945, one of the things they discussed was setting up a global health organization. The World Health Organization’s Constitution came into force on April 7, 1948 – a date we now celebrate every year as World Health Day.

Delegates from 53 of WHO’s 55 original member states came to the first World Health Assembly in June 1948. They decided that WHO’s top priorities would be malaria, women’s and children’s health, tuberculosis, venereal disease, nutrition and environmental sanitations – many of which we are still working on today. WHO’s work has since grown to also cover health problems that were not even known in 1948, including relatively new diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations’ system. WHO experts produce health guidelines and standards, and help countries to address public health issues. WHO also supports and promotes health research. Through WHO, governments can jointly tackle global health problems and improve people’s well-being.

WHO and its member states work with many partners, including UN agencies, donors, nongovernmental organizations, WHO collaborating centers and the private sector. Only through new ways of work and innovative partnerships can they make a difference and achieve their goals.

Last but not least, WHO is people. Over 8,000 public health experts including doctors, epidemiologists, scientists, managers, administrators and other professionals from all over the world work for WHO in 147 country offices, six regional offices and the headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Now, you can add the Center for Global Health at the Colorado School for Public Health as part of the WHO distinguished group.

What is a Collaborating Center?

WHO collaborating centers are institutions such as research institutes, parts of universities or academies, which are designated by the Director-General to carry out activities in support of the Organizations programs. Currently there are over 800 WHO collaborating centers in over 80 Member States working with WHO on areas such as nursing, occupational health, communicable diseases, nutrition, mental health, chronic diseases and health technologies.

This collaboration really is a win-win relationship as it brings benefits to both parties. WHO gains access to top centers worldwide as well as the institutional capacity to support its global health work, and to ensure its scientific validity. Institutions benefit from enhanced visibility and recognition by national authorities, calling public attention to the health issues on which they work. The designation also opens up improved opportunities to exchange information and develop technical cooperation with other institutions, and to mobilize additional resources from funding partners.

Collaborating centers are encouraged to develop working relations with other centers and national institutions recognized by WHO, by setting up or joining collaborative networks with WHO’s support. Examples of existing technical networks are the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centers for Nursing and Midwifery Development, and the Network of WHO Collaborating Centers for Occupational Health.

The Center for Global Health is honored to have the designation of WHO Collaborating Center for the next four years with the World Health Organization. It has already begun collaborative discussions with several entities around the world.

To see other WHO collaborating centers around the world and the work they do go to:

Center for Global Health

13199 East Montview Boulevard, Suite 310
Mail Stop A090
Aurora, CO 80045


facebook youtube instagram




© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.