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The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health Celebrates 20 Years

Two decades of transforming family planning research, policy, and advocacy.

The landscape of family planning and reproductive health shifted in 1999. The year marked the creation of Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, with an initial investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In the two decades since, the Institute has helped transform family planning  research, policy and advocacy, and performance monitoring—and introduced disruptive innovations.

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Director of IFP giving remarks
  • The Vision and the Beginning

    The Gates Institute is founded with a $20 million grant. Laurie Zabin, PhD ’79, serves as its first director. The Institute’s enduring mission: Scholarship and Science for Social Change.

  • Able Scholars and Strategic Leaders

    The Institute begins training what now totals more than 1,000 scholars and fellows from 30 countries. It includes a strategic leadership program led by Henry Mosley and Ben Lozare.

  • A Transformative New Director

    Amy Ong Tsui, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the Carolina Population Center, is named the Institute’s director.

  • Global Centers of Excellence

    The Institute partners with academic institutions to build self-sustaining reproductive health centers of excellence in Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Malawi, and Uganda.

  • Partners in Research

    Johns Hopkins faculty collaborate with partner faculty on research, publishing 135+ peer-reviewed journal articlesPartner faculty have published 365+ articles.

  • The Grant That Shapes the World

    The Gates Foundation awards a $40 million 10-year grant to the Institute, establishing it as a global leader in family planning and reproductive health.

  • A New Advocacy Initiative Launches

    Advance Family Planning launches with 20+ partner organizations in 10 countries. Its goal: Expand access to quality family planning information, services, and supplies through advocacy.

  • A Strategic Inflection Point

    The first International Conference on Family Planning, the largest scientific gathering on family planning, is held in Uganda with later ones in Senegal, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Rwanda.

  • The Demographic Dividend

    The Institute takes a lead role in advancing the demographic dividend (economic benefits from an increase in working-age population and decrease in mortality and fertility rates).

  • Youth, Engaged and Empowered

    At ICFP in Addis Ababa, youth advocates start the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning, which now has 1,200+ members in 80+ countries.

  • Mobile Tech for Fast Surveys

    Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 launches. PMA2020 uses mobile technology to support fast, low-cost surveys of key family planning and other health indicators.

  • A Visionary New Leader

    Jose G.”Oying” Rimon II, a veteran of the Gates Foundation and the Center for Communication Programs at the School, is appointed the Institute’s director.

  • Support for the Next Generation

    The Institute rolls out the 120 Under 40 initiative to identify up-and-coming leaders in family planning worldwide and support young champions and innovators.

  • An Impressive Return on Investment

    By 2015, each dollar invested by the Institute in six partner institutions has a return of $2.40+ in research dollars.

  • A “Business Unusual” Approach

    The Institute unveils The Challenge Initiative, now a $60 million “business unusual” approach to financing, scaling up, and sustaining high-impact family planning solutions for the urban poor.

  • Making the Case for Public Health

    The Center for Public Health Advocacy is established to develop future public health professionals who are as skilled in advocacy as they are in science and public health practice.

  • A Record-Breaking ICFP in Rwanda

    ICFP in Kigali convenes 4,000+ participants from 119 countries for a program that features 1,600+ presentations. A record 600+ youths attend the youth preconference.

  • Interview a Half Million People? Check.

    PMA2020 completes 66 rounds of data collection, training of 2,700+ local data collectors, surveys in 11 countries in Africa and Asia, and 500,000+ interviews.

  • A Final 40 for 120 Under 40

    The final 120 Under 40 cohort is named. Six leaders are chosen for Ingenuity Fund support for their family planning ideas and will complete the Global Leadership Accelerator course.

  • Time to Plan the Future

    The Institute celebrates its 20th year with a special two-day convening of global leaders that explores ideas that will shape the future of family planning and reproductive health.