Wired UK has published an in-depth profile of our president, Larry Brilliant, and the pandemics work here at the Skoll Global Threats Fund. It’s a nice look both at Larry’s history in the public health arena, as well as our current efforts to head off pandemics. You can read it here.
We, together with the Hewlett Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, MacArthur Foundation, and Ploughshares Fund, are putting in motion a new effort to bring positive disruption to the arena of nuclear security. We five funders share common goals of increasing nuclear security and decreasing risks from nuclear weapons. We believe that, to achieve these goals, we need to drive more attention to the issue and surface ideas that can gain traction in today’s crowded policy space. This new initiative is aimed at exploring ways to bring new players and new ideas into the nuclear sphere. The nuclear security community today is effective, but new ideas and partners could help us become even more effective. Advances in sectors like data, mobile communications and technology are opening new avenues for tackling complex issues like climate, infectious disease and shared resource use. We believe cross-fertilization from these fields could lead to advances in the nuclear sphere as well. The group is looking to hire an initiative lead who’ll help design the initiative and be the driving force behind this pilot. You can read the position description and how to apply here.
FluNearYou.org is a free and anonymous crowdsourced flu reporting system that we’ve helped launch that aims to save lives and reduce misery. It’s goal is to create an early warning system to help detect and head off the spread of deadly flu outbreaks.
December 8 kicks off National Vaccination Awareness Week and Skoll Global Threats Fund and FluNearYou.org need your participation now to help raise awareness of the dangers of flu and the value of FluNearYou.org.
The Flu Near You team has launched a Facebook Flu Mask Campaign that let’s you temporarily put a Flu Mask on your Facebook profile picture to show you’ve joined the #FluForce. It only takes a couple minutes and a couple steps, and it’s more than worth it. Just go here to join through Twibbon.
Thanks for joining in and helping to Spread the Word, Not the Flu!
Our President, Larry Brilliant, recently spoke at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Celebration of American Philanthropy event. Larry was one of several philanthropic leaders talking about “big bets” philanthropy can make to tackle today’s challenges. His big bet – “ending pandemics in our lifetime.”
Our Climate Director, Amy Luers, is a Bellagio PopTech Fellow this year. She participated in the PopTech conference last week, and has been working with the other Bellgio PopTech Fellows (photo below, Amy’s 2nd from left) on the question of how big data can be used effectively – and ethically – to promote community resilience. They’ve published a white paper, “Big Data, Communities and Ethical Resilience: A Framework for Action,” that you can download here. You can read a PopTech blog about the paper here.
We’re co-hosting a conference starting today in San Francisco on digital disease detection. HealthMap (at Boston Children’s Hospital) is our co-host, and University of San Francisco is graciously providing the space. For those new to the issue, digital disease detection refers to the use of digital sources, web searches, and other technology to surface early signals of disease outbreaks and improve the ability to stop the spread of contagious diseases. (Our Flu Near You project is one example of this.) The conference will be bringing together leaders in technology and public health to explore how new tools can help tackle infectious disease. You can see the agenda and list of speakers here.
Today will kick off with keynotes from execs from Facebook and Quid, followed by a series of rapid fire talks on different technologies and how they’re being applied to disease detection. All of these will be available via a live stream here starting at 1:00 pm. The rapid fire talks with continue tomorrow morning at 9:00 am, also live streamed at the same URL. Folks will be tweeting from the event with a #DigDisTech hash tag.
It should be a really interesting event, so we hope you can watch!