Politics and Plagues – Retro Report

The Retro Report recently featured our Chairman Dr. Larry Brilliant as he reflects on one of the greatest triumphs in public health history: the eradication of smallpox. After 40 years and billions of dollars, however, the challenge to eradicate other diseases continues, while the risk of the next pandemic becomes more urgent.

Politics and Plagues discusses how politics and current events can challenge and complicate the already complex efforts to eradicate infectious diseases.

From the accompanying The New York Times essay:

“For his part, Dr. Brilliant emphasizes that the key to beating back an infectious disease is ‘early detection, early response.’ He utters the phrase as if it is a mantra. But in a strife-prone world, translating those words into action is as big a challenge as ever.”

The full report can be found at the link here: https://www.retroreport.org/video/politics-and-plagues/

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Annie Maxwell receives University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award

Our President, Annie Maxwell, was recognized and awarded the Bicentennial Alumni Award at the University of Michigan’s 2017 spring commencement for her work on global threats and commitment to addressing “wicked problems.”

This special award was created exclusively for the university’s 200th anniversary, honoring 20 people who who can inspire the university’s community through their outstanding ongoing work, and herald its future achievements, as well as its state, national, and global impact.

Susan M. Collins, the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy, stressed Annie’s deep-seated values, stating: “Annie has spoken extensively about her belief that solving the world’s most vital challenges requires our full collective intelligence and creativity, which we can only catalyze by engaging diverse people and perspectives throughout the process,” says Collins.

Jennifer Niggemeier, director of graduate career services and alumni relations, recognized Maxwell not just for her professional accomplishments, but for her longstanding support for the next generation of policy leaders: “She’s been a mentor to so many Ford School students over the years…from developing internships to modeling the way for women in leadership. We are so proud that she will represent the Ford School during the university’s bicentennial celebrations.”

Other University of Michigan Bicentennial Alumni Award winners include, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who both recently won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for the song “City of Stars” from the movie “La La Land.” Babak Parviz, the creator of Google Glass and former director at Google X. Christopher Paul Curtis, whose first book “The Watsons go to Birmingham,” won a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor.

The full announcement can be found at the link here: http://fordschool.umich.edu/news/2017/ford-school-alum-annie-maxwell-receive-u-m-bicentennial-alumni-award

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Ending Pandemics: A Session at the 2017 Skoll World Forum

Our Pandemics team will be hosting an Ecosystem Event at this year’s Skoll World Forum.

Moderated by our Chairman Dr. Larry Brilliant, the panel features experts recognized in the field of global health discussing how effective global and local collaboration can prevent the next pandemic.

In addition to our Chief Medical Officer and Director of Global Health Threats, Dr. Mark Smolinski, panelists include:

Dr. Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust
Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations
Channé Suy Lan, Regional Lead, InSTEDD iLab Southeast Asia
Dr. Suwit Wibulpolprasert, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Health, Thailand

The world knows all too well that no one is safe from the threat of emerging infectious disease and that the scale and devastation posed by a pandemic could reach millions of people, costing the world more than $60 billion.

It will take a concerted effort to prevent that from happening. From social entrepreneurs working on the frontlines of health to those working in technology and innovation, this work goes beyond traditional partnerships.

While the session is at full capacity, we will be sharing a video and recap blog post following the session.

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PBS Newshour: Stamping out smallpox is just one chapter of his Brilliant life story

Our Chairman, Dr. Larry Brilliant continues his discussion with PBS Newshour special correspondent, Fred de Sam Lazaro, looking back at his career and current work identifying today’s global threats.

In the segment, which ran on PBS Newshour on March 9, Larry shares more about his days in the San Francisco hippie scene and his work as one of the world’s leading disease fighters who helped eradicate smallpox. He also gives a nod to the work of the pandemics team here at Skoll Global Threats Fund working to end pandemics.

You can watch the full segment at this link: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/videos/#209296

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Guardiões da Saúde (Guardians of Health) Receives Recognition at the World Government Summit

Guardiões da Saúde (Guardians of Health) was recently announced as the winner of the Best Mobile Government Service at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Supported by the Skoll Global Threats Fund and the Brazilian Ministry of Health, the app was built by Brazilian eHealth startup Epitrack. Garnering more than 60,000 downloads, Guardiões da Saúde was used during the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brazil to monitor potential disease outbreaks in real-time.

The application was developed by applying participatory surveillance technology, where app users’ health and location data was voluntarily and confidentially shared daily to monitor health conditions. The collective data reported could then warn users and officials of health threats, quickly triggering control and prevention actions at the local, state, and national levels.

With the support of governments and individuals, technology and participatory surveillance can help ensure that mass gatherings like the Olympics continue to be celebratory moments where people around the world can peacefully embrace other cultures and not put their health at risk.

The award announcement can be found here.

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A message from our Chief Medical Officer: Microbes are not deterred by borders, and neither are we

By Dr. Mark Smolinski

At the close of  2016, the SGTF Ending Pandemics Team created a home for our partners across the globe to connect and learn with one another. EndingPandemics.org, the new home for our Community of Practice, will continue to evolve and grow as our work expands.

From Chiang Mai, Thailand to Morogoro, Tanzania, we collaborate with a brilliant team of grantees, ministries of health, and private and public sector partners in 143 countries. Our mission: to find and report outbreaks faster no matter where they occur on the planet.

We’ve seen how tools created by the people, for the people, are saving lives and preventing economic loss that could debilitate communities. We’ve seen the drive of a village volunteer to stop a potentially catastrophic outbreak in its path by diligently taking a photo of a sick cow, filling out a few fields on a app, and pushing “send.” Every week, over 60,000 individual volunteers in North America report symptoms of influenza-like-illness to help us track the first signs and spread of the seasonal flu. Twenty-eight countries collaborate in a regional network collective to share best practices and scale innovations.

Openness to learning and sharing knowledge are essential to doing the work we do. It’s people like our Community of Practice partners who enrich and shape our perspectives on the endless possibilities of how we can improve our world.

Microbes are not deterred by borders, and neither are we. Ending pandemics is a movement that starts with all of us.

Explore the work of our Community of Practice at EndingPandemics.org.

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Dr. Larry Brilliant Reflects on his Spiritual Journey as a Doctor on PBS Religion & Ethics Weekly

Our Chairman, Dr. Larry Brilliant, is featured on the PBS program Religion & Ethics Weekly. As correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports, Brilliant became a disciple of an Indian guru and worked on helping to eradicate smallpox, a disease that once killed millions of people every year. Today, Brilliant is a guru to many elites in Silicon Valley and a philanthropist who embraces the ethical wisdom of many faiths, working to combat global threats and scourges such as pandemics, climate change, and nuclear proliferation.

The interview is slated to also run on PBS NewsHour and it can be found at the link here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/2016/12/09/larry-brilliant/33644/

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Dr. Larry Brilliant Explores the Meaning of Compassion

Our Chairman, Dr. Larry Brilliant, shares his incredible spiritual journey from a young boy in Detroit to a key player in the eradication of one of the worst pandemics in human history, in his new book Sometimes Brilliant. Larry recently gave a talk exploring the meaning of compassion at Dreamforce 2016, where he reflected on his powerful experiences as a civil-rights marcher, philosopher, mystic, hippie, doctor, and groundbreaking tech innovator.

Watch his talk at the link here: https://www.salesforce.com/video/282829/

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Larry Brilliant to Judge New MacArthur Foundation Competition for $100 Million

Our Chairman, Dr. Larry Brilliant, will serve as an evaluating judge for a new $100 million award to a single proposal designed to help solve a critical problem affecting people, places, or the planet.

Started by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 100&Change is open to organizations working in any field of endeavor anywhere around the world. Applicants must identify both the problem they are trying to solve, as well as their proposed solution. Competitive proposals must be meaningful, verifiable, durable, and feasible.

More information on the competition can be found at www.100andchange.org.

All inquiries should be directed to: questions@100andchange.org

 

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