These sources consist of legitimate science or are evidence based through the use of credible scientific sourcing. Legitimate science follows the scientific method, is unbiased and does not use emotional words. These sources also respect the consensus of experts in the given scientific field and strive to publish peer reviewed science. Some sources in this category may have a slight political bias, but adhere to scientific principles. See all Pro-Science sources.
- Overall, we rate the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) a pro-science source based on evidence-based statistical modeling. Keep in mind that models rely on variables that can change and therefore may not always be accurate.
Factual Reporting: HIGH
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 2007, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is a research institute working in the area of global health statistics and impact evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. According to their about page, they are an “independent population health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them.”
In March 2020, IHME began formulating projections on Covid-19 deaths that have been criticized for underestimating future deaths that differ from other organizations’ projections.
Funded by / Ownership
IHME receives core grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the state of Washington. Other funders include The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Inter-American Development Bank; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health; Medtronic Philanthropy; and the National Institute on Aging.
Analysis / Bias
In review, IHME produces and publishes health-related projection models on a variety of health issues as well as policy reports for countries such as this: Ways to Improve Health in the Russian Federation, 2000–2017. Policy research is very well-sourced and evidence-based.
In 2020, IHME began producing projection models for Coronavirus deaths that were used by the Trump Administration to formulate policy. Their projections have been criticized for varying widely, as well as for being much lower than other science-based projections. According to an article by STAT “Other experts, including some colleagues of the model-makers, are even harsher. “That the IHME model keeps changing is evidence of its lack of reliability as a predictive tool,” said epidemiologist Ruth Etzioni of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, who has served on a search committee for IHME. “That it is being used for policy decisions and its results interpreted wrongly is a travesty unfolding before our eyes.”
Model projections for the USA can be found at covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america. As of June 10th, 2020 the model is predicting there will be 169K deaths by October 1st, with a potential range from 133K to 290K. The Annals of Internal Medicine reports “Caution Warranted: Using the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Model for Predicting the Course of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Their primary criticism is the “IHME projections are based not on transmission dynamics but on a statistical model with no epidemiologic basis.”
In general, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation meets our criteria as a Pro-Science source. Although some have criticized their projections they ultimately are based on available statistics and produce a range that is reasonable and disclaimed not to be 100% accurate.
Failed Fact Checks
- None to date
Overall, we rate the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) a pro-science source based on evidence-based statistical modeling. Keep in mind that models rely on variables that can change and therefore may not always be accurate. (D. Van Zandt 6/15/2020)