Virchow Prize

for global health

Honouring Life-Time Achievements Towards Health for All




The Virchow Foundation for Global Health is an independent non-profit foundation which strives to raise awareness of global health issues in a holistic approach, addressing all sectors of society, with the aim of improving health and well-being. The primary focus will include emphasizing the understanding of the complex interrelationships between medical, political, economic and social determinants through trans-sectoral cooperation. This will be promoted through a joint commitment of respected individuals and organisations, across disciplines and regions, who are committed to a sustainable improvement in global health. The Virchow Foundation for Global Health strongly acknowledges, supports, and relates its work with the efforts of the United Nations, towards preserving the health and well-being of people and the planet, through the attainment of the UN 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In this spirit, the Virchow Prize for Global Health is established and supported by the Virchow Foundation for Global Health, to recognize innovations of outstanding significance with a positive and sustainable impact on the broad field of global health.

Rudolf Virchow was an example of a great scientist, medical doctor, pathologist, anthropologist, sociologist and influential politician, who with his ideas, discoveries and activities, had profound impact on the health and wellbeing of people during his time through present day. Virchow united in one person the interdisciplinary, intersectoral and humanistic activity which is needed to improve global health.

Rudolf Virchow is thus an example and an inspiration to successfully bridge, with complexity, the increasing challenges within health and other areas of our modern civilisation.

We are confident that the Virchow Prize for Global Health Laureates, through their lifetime achievements, will be leading examples in striving for these necessary, ambitious efforts while providing inspiration to the community in improving health and well-being for all – our common and noble goal.

At the 2021 World Health Summit (WHS) in Berlin, Professor Detlev Ganten, Co-Founder of the Virchow Foundation for Global Health, publicly announced the establishment of the Virchow Prize for Global Health. The presentation was made during the WHS Opening Ceremony on 24 October,  where speakers included UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn, attended by several hundred participants in the plenary hall and several thousand digitally connected participants from the global health community. The WHS was held under the High Patronage of Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).