The Atlantic’s yearly Women of Washington event series brings together women leaders to discuss pressing issues. On October 11th, young leaders in global health – Barbara Bush of Global Health Corps, Catherine Connor of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and Vanessa Kerry of SEED Global Health – sat down for a conversation with Susan Dentzer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to talk about how their organizations are making a mark on global health issues.
Though their organizations’ primary focus is on eradicating infectious diseases, these leaders spoke of the importance of considering health systems and left the audience with lessons and inspiration to start improving various health issues that can be undertaken by various disciplines and skill-sets. Notably:
- There are many challenges but also many opportunities when it comes to global health.
- Share strategies that work, regardless of where they work; the U.S. can learn a lot from other countries and vice versa.
- Shaping health systems takes partnerships and a comprehensive view of health. People are at the heart of health systems, and we need to address the spectrum of health challenges including infectious disease, non-communicable and chronic disease, and injuries.
- You do not have to be a doctor or nurse to be involved in global health. Every single person can contribute in a myriad of ways – it takes everybody. For example, Global Health Corps, which recruits fellows in a variety of disciplines to fill gaps at partner organizations working on global health issues, recently placed architects on a project redesigning health clinic facilities in Rwanda. The architects are addressing airflow in buildings, an intervention that is necessary due to tuberculosis outbreaks.
The real estate, development, and design industries can draw on these lessons when thinking about specific projects and how they impact health. ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative will be providing research, best practices, and discussion opportunities on ways to plan and develop healthier communities – and thus, foster healthier people.
Video of the hour-long conversation can be found here.
Barbara Bush, Founder and CEO, Global Health Corps
Catherine Connor, Director of Public Policy, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Vanessa Kerry, Founder and CEO, SEED Global Health
Susan Dentzer, Senior Fellow, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation