An "extraordinary moment" for global health
July 21, 2009
This is an extraordinary moment.
Throughout my career in public health and development, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside hundreds of individuals all focused on one collective mission: to improve the health and well-being of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Today I am thrilled to co-chair an effort that maintains this core goal, but with several new and exceptional personalities in the mix: The CSIS Commission on Smart Global Health Policy.
Comprised of 26 highly accomplished leaders from diverse backgrounds - foreign policy, security, Congress, media, business, and health – the Commission was formed to take a fresh independent look at the ‘big picture’ of improving global health. Together we are pondering what goals and strategies should guide U.S. approaches on global health over the next 15 years. These are tough questions. I am confident, though, that this group of individuals – at this moment in history - has the opportunity to use its collective insights to build a strong foundation for U.S. leadership in global health.
The timing could not be better. The Bush administration put enormous resources into HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, making the U.S. the world’s largest global health donor. President Obama and Secretary Clinton are keen on maintaining this leadership role. In May, the Obama administration unveiled a six-year, $63 billion Global Health Initiative that continues the major disease initiatives of the past eight years, but also looks at other serious challenges such as maternal and child health, and neglected tropical diseases. We are seeing a shift towards integrating health programs and making them sustainable over the long run. It is time for a strategic approach to global health.
The Commission cannot do this alone. We need to extend our reach and draw upon the ideas and stories of people across America who care about these issues. Because we want to hear from you, we are taking special steps to receive your input through public consultations in centers of global health excellence like Research Triangle, NC and San Francisco, CA. In August, we’re traveling to Kenya to hear from implementers on the ground.
And, most importantly, we have launched this site. This website is for you to contribute to the Commission. Check back often because over the course of the Commission’s work we will want you to help us grapple with difficult questions, send us your stories from the field, and maintain a dialogue with us through this blog. I am excited for what is to come.
I will be back shortly to discuss specific issues, particularly one of special importance to me: maternal and child health.
- Helene Gayle
p.s. This video provides a quick overview of what the Commission hopes to accomplish. Please share it with your friends and colleagues: