Field Notes, Update

Highlights from our #IWD2019 event, how a fistula survivor became a nationwide advocate, and your global health elevator pitch

The info hub for the hub of global health

Whenever you choose to wake up—that is your morning. Good morning.

Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, friend and steering committee member of Every Woman Treaty inviting us to “wake up” and create a world where women and girls don’t just survive, they thrive. Dr. Nwadinobi spoke to hundreds celebrating International Women’s Day at the Gates Foundation Discovery Center.


A medical school on a Rwandan hilltop, the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), just graduated its third cohort of global health leaders and sent them out with the word ubumwe, meaning “we are one.” Now see how they’re leading in Rwanda and beyond.

With the third cohort behind them, the Partners in Health UGHE leaders share some tips for the West in emphasizing fairness, adding a public health foundation, and reversing brain drain.

Destination elimination

By the end of the century, the fourth most common cancer in women across the globe could be eliminated. Today, cervical cancer kills 300,000 women a year. But thanks to more widespread HPV vaccination and increased screenings, that may not be the case for another generation.

Some of our hometown players have been instrumental in the fight. For example, Fred Hutch researchers made breakthrough contributions to identifying how HPV causes cancer and to the science underlying the HPV vaccine.

Survivor advocate

Local Kenyan leader Sarah Omega went from fistula survivor to maternal health advocate, and now she’s helping other survivors do the same. What started as a one-woman show is now a 216-woman effort that partners with the Worldwide Fistula Fund. Sarah’s Let’s End Fistula Initiative is saving lives and showing that sometimes you don’t need high tech—you just need sustainable funding.

What’s your elevator pitch?

If you’re talking to electeds about global health, the Global Health Council has you covered with its 2019 Briefing Book. Whether you’re riding for three floors or briefing for 30 minutes, this comprehensive guide includes everything from neglected tropical diseases to digital health. Learn more about the interventions, impact, and global need, and find out which WGHA members contributed.

And if you’re taking it to the Hill, eat before you go … in case you get busted, too.

Moving on and moving up

  • After heading the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) for a quarter century, Steve Reed transitions to leading two new spinout companies: OnCo and HDT Bio. Corey Casper, IDRI’s chief scientific officer, moves up to the president’s suite in the interim.
  • Cheikh Oumar Seydi moves on from the World Bank to join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as its new Africa director. Meanwhile, Orin Levine moves up as director of Global Delivery Programs after six years as the Gates Foundation’s director of vaccine delivery.
  • Doug Call moves up to the distinguished rank of regents professor at the Washington State University Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health.

Around town

  • March 13: Learn to talk science with nonscientists at WGHA’s inaugural STEM Global Public Engagement Training.
  • March 19: Alex Keenan, Senator Patty Murray’s staff director on Health and Human Services Appropriations, talks federal funding with WGHA members.
  • March 20: Locals can attend a free hepatitis education, screening, and immunization clinic with the Hepatitis Education Project.
  • March 28: Help Launch your new hires with WGHA’s twice-annual global health community orientation.
  • March 29: Lunch & Learn about product design strategy at Cambia Grove.

In health development, as in many other areas, women are agents of change. They are the driving force that creates better lives for families, communities and, increasingly, the countries they have been elected to govern.

Dr. Margaret Chan, former director-general of WHO

P.S. Meet more change agents in Malaria No More’s list of women who are leading the fight against malaria.

Do you have a tip for Field Notes? Send it to Tiffany Cain, tcain@wghalliance.org

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