Life, Not Death, is Focus of New Health Metrics
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
It’s Monday morning in Seattle, and Christopher Murray and I are glued to his computer screen, watching how the world dies. A drop-down menu offers choices from measles and cirrhosis to eating disorders and self-harm. I choose road traffic injuries and see a map divided into 187 countries, each color-coded by incidence: blue for safest, fire engine red for most deadly. Commuting in Sweden or Singapore? Go ahead, gas up. Traversing Gabon or Angola? Buckle up and pray.
The maps represent the ascendance of a new accounting of life and death led by Murray, a still-boyish-looking salt-and-pepper-haired 50-year-old who is the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Rather than focus only on how many people were killed by a particular malady, as others measuring death and disease do, IHME emphasizes the number of years of healthy life lost.