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Building back better, keeping doors open, and putting a gender lens on global health

The info hub for the hub of global health

Building back better

This week, we welcomed President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to the White House. With the new administration comes new hope for global and public health.

The powerhouse Biden/Harris team will cancel our country’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization, advocate for a $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal to support the US COVID-19 response, and appoint a science-forward presidential cabinet. Below are just a few of the history-making nominees:

  • Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Dr. Rachel Levine, Assistant Health Secretary, HHS.

  • Dr. Eric Lander, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Presidential Science Advisor, a position now elevated to the cabinet level.

  • Samantha Power, USAID Administrator, a position now elevated to the National Security Council.

Resolutions & predictions

Its been a long month! If you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolutions, you’re not alone. Check out Fred Hutch’s science-based tips to get back on track.

Not a fan of resolutions? Read on for predictions instead. Check out WHO’s top ten global health issues to track this year, and Global Health Technologies Coalition’s six issues to watch in R&D policy, including how we can harness 2020’s lessons learned to supercharge a new era of innovation.

Operation vaccination

If you’re 65 and older, get ready to roll up your sleeve. Gov. Inslee announced an updated state plan for vaccine distribution with a goal of vaccinating 45,000 Washingtonians per day. This announcement follows King County’s $7 million investment to create community vaccination sites and mobile teams to distribute the vaccine efficiently and equitably. Our Oregon neighbors are opening vaccination sites as well, prioritizing health care workers and educators.

Looking beyond the Pacific Northwest, there’s more work to be done for vaccine distribution in low- and middle-income countries. Many WGHA members are involved through the COVAX initiative (which the US will soon join), and other organizations including UNICEF are helping combat vaccine misinformation.

Keeping doors open

Did you know private-sector providers deliver nearly half of all health care in sub-Saharan Africa? Unfortunately, many are at risk of closing because of the pandemic. But thanks to a significant boost funded by government and foundation partners, 1,600 African private health facilities will have access to funding to keep their doors open. Malaria No More will manage the fund enabling continued essential health services in five countries to more than 5 million people including low-income patients, women, and children who are most at risk of malaria and other infectious diseases.

Economic empowerment

With Sustainable Development Goal 5 as its north star, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation appointed Anita Zaidi as president of the Gender Equality Division, where she’ll oversee the organization’s efforts and ensure women’s needs and interests are top of mind for all projects and initiatives. Zaidi shared her thoughts on her new role, how poverty is sexist, and the importance of giving women agency through economic empowerment.

Awards & accolades

  • Lynden Transport earned the EPA’s SmartWay High Performer Award for its operating efficiencies.

  • Maria Thacker-Goethe of the Georgia Global Health Alliance earned a spot on the list of 100 Most Influential Georgians.

  • And these Huskies made headlines:

    • Dr. Helen Chu, an infectious disease physician at UW Medicine, was named Washingtonian of the Year by the Washington State Leadership Board.

    • Dr. Grace John-Stewart, with UW School of Public Health, received the 2021 Research Excellence Award from the ASPPH for her research improving HIV prevention and treatment.

Zoomin' around town

  • Jan. 26: Sign up for a Fred Hutch COVID-19 Vaccines: Get the Facts training, tailored for communicators and community leaders tasked with engaging and educating BIPOC and older adult audiences about the importance of vaccines.

  • Jan. 26: Join Malaria Partners International for a conversation about the significant role gender plays in the fight against malaria. Claim your spot today.

  • Jan. 25–29: Davos is going digital this year. Starting Monday, tune into the Davos Agenda, a week-long program dedicated to bold solutions to drive a robust recovery.

  • Jan. 30: Don’t miss out on our virtual STEM Global Educator Workshop for high school science and math teachers.

The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it, if only we're brave enough to be it.”

Amanda Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate

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