Welcome to the website of the Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI)

The Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI) is a network of international partners dedicated to accelerating and expanding access to quality assured laboratory services in response to the diagnostic challenges of TB, notably HIV-associated and drug-resistant TB. The GLI provides a focus for TB within the framework of a multi-faceted yet integrated approach to laboratory capacity strengthening.

Organizationally, the GLI is one of seven main Working Groups of the Stop TB Partnership (TBP) with the GLI secretariat provided by WHO-HQ in Geneva. Functionally, the GLI serves as an independent, technical expert advisory group to WHO, the TBP, development agencies and countries. Structurally, the GLI consists of individuals with expertise in multiple disciplines, representing constituencies of stakeholders and/or institutions involved in global, regional and country-level laboratory strengthening.

Background

In November 2002, the DOTS Expansion Working Group (DEWG) of the Stop TB Partnership established a Subgroup on Laboratory Capacity Strengthening (SLCS), with the secretariat based at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva. The SLCS comprised mainly of the Directors of the TB Supranational Reference Laboratory Network (SRLN), heads of National TB Reference Laboratories (NRLs), technical agencies and Stop TB Partnership members.

In January 2007, the Subgroup on Laboratory Capacity Strengthening (SLCS) established a Core Group (CG) of international TB laboratory experts to accelerate activities and set the strategic direction for laboratory capacity strengthening.

During this process, consensus evolved among key stakeholders that a Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI) was needed to guide and coordinate the huge effort required, integrating the SLCS and the SRLN and optimizing the network of partners involved in TB laboratory strengthening. The GLI was formally launched at the first Annual GLI Meeting co-convened by WHO TBP and Fondation Mérieux in May 2008, and was granted full Working Group status by the TBP Coordinating Board in October 2008.

GLI factsheet - 2014 Update [.pdf]


Dr Heather Alexander, elected as Chair of the Core Group of the Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI)

Dr Heather Alexander was elected as Chair of the Core Group of the Global Laboratory Initiative (GLI) by the Core Group members. Dr Alexander joined the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005 and is currently the CDC Division of Global HIV and Tuberculosis (DGHT) TB and Clinical Monitoring Team Lead, expanding her efforts in support of integrated, patient-centered diagnostic laboratory capacity building.

During her tenure as a microbiologist in the Division of TB Elimination, International Research and Programs Branch, Dr. Alexander worked with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) to manage collaborative multidrug-resistant TB diagnostic evaluations and implementation studies in several countries including the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan, Nepal, and the Philippines, contributed to the development of WHO TB diagnostic policies, and conducted applied TB research in collaboration with DTBE’s Laboratory Branch.

In 2010, Dr. Alexander joined the Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA), International Laboratory Branch (ILB) as the Tuberculosis and Opportunistic Infections Unit Lead. In this capacity, she focused on improving access to and uptake of rapid and accurate TB/HIV laboratory diagnostic services in PEPFAR-supported countries through strategic planning; laboratory quality management systems strengthening; implementing and assessing the impact of new TB diagnostics; and improving linkages between diagnostic testing and TB and HIV treatment.

In 2015, Dr. Alexander received a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Emory University (Atlanta, USA) in 2004 and currently is completing a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology at the same institution. She has been an active member of the GLI Core Group since 2011.