Field Notes, Update

Progress & predictions, a new role for artificial intelligence, and the top 1%

The info hub for the hub of global health

Hawkeyes and spiders and boats, oh my!

The new year means new board members rolling in, and we couldn’t be more excited about our 2019 lineup. Thanks to these global health rock stars for volunteering their time and talents to guide WGHA:

  • John Aitchison codirects the Center for Global Infectious Disease Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and races sailboats with his wife and first mate.
  • Drew Clark is a senior director at World Vision and has traveled to 80 countries collecting hotel and airline points along the way. (Ask him the last time he paid for a flight!)
  • Rhea Coler is a senior vice president and an investigator at the Infectious Disease Research Institute. She raised spiders as a young girl growing up in Trinidad.
  • Richard de Sam Lazaro is a regional manager with the Expedia Group. His first job involved hanging out at a South Sound marina selling fish and teaching sailing.
  • Marsha Mutisi is a senior finance audit principal with Nordstrom and an amateur matchmaker. The friends she set up on a blind date in high school just celebrated 25 years of marriage.
  • Bindiya Patel is senior director of planning and design with PATH and the daughter of a 40-year University of Iowa professor. Bindiya spent countless frigid nights at football games trying to stay warm in Hawkeye gear.

Progress & predictions

Sure there were some bumps, but 2018 wasn’t all bad. We saw new cures for sleeping sickness and rotavirus, a low-cost typhoid vaccine, the first United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis, the first TB vaccine, and of course the first global health lip sync.

Now, NPR’s making its global health predictions for 2019, and they’re worth paying attention to based on NPR’s 2018 success rate. Meanwhile, locals are predicting more zoo visits thanks to baby EckiWoodland Park Zoo’s newest tree kangaroo. Check him out on YouTube now (he’ll be ready for visitors soon).

Affection, not infection

UNICEF and its partners have new ways for Ebola survivors to use their immunity status: helping Ebola orphans. These survivors can cuddle without risk of infection—bringing affection to kids who need it most and hope to the second largest Ebola outbreak in history.

The buzz in India

India’s Odisha state saw a greater than 80% decrease in malaria cases between 2017-2018. Now Odisha is all the buzz, and Malaria No More, with support from Abbott, is teaming up with the government to help Odisha create a model for other states to replicate, helping India pave the way to meet its goal of malaria elimination by 2030.

Artificial intelligence

Extracting human health data has gotten a lot easier and cheaper (compare the cost of sequencing a human genome in 2001 versus today). Analyzing that much data is a different story though.

Today, a single cancer patient can generate a terabyte of data. That’s why the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is teaming up with local Seattle tech giants to see how artificial intelligence can help defeat cancer.

When they’re looking for a university president they want you to be able to walk on water.” I said, “I’m not sure I have any special strengths, but I do know where the rocks are.

 Ana Mari Cauce, President of the University of Washington, sharing about leadership with the more than 200 women who gathered for Seattle’s first
Women in Global Health meeting.

The top 1% … of researchers

Seattle has nearly 100 of the 2018 Highly Cited Researchers that received worldwide recognition for their significant influence and contributions. Congrats to these top-notch researchers working in WGHA member organizations:

  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
  • Northeastern University
  • Seattle Children’s Research Institute
  • University of Washington
  • Washington State University

Postmortem surveillance

Autopsies aren’t often done in low- and middle-income countries because of limited resources or cultural barriers. A new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded initiative is trying to help pinpoint causes of death with an alternative to conventional autopsy. The MITS Surveillance Alliance is expanding tissue sampling worldwide to help us better understand what people are dying from.

Check RTI International’s MITS website on January 15 to apply for grant funding.


What’s your 3HAG?

Make your 3HAG a New Year’s resolution and join this full-day workshop on January 31 to learn how to build and achieve your three-year strategy. The 3HAG builds on the things that make you and your organization different and gives you a clear path to meeting your goals.

Come ready to roll up your sleeves and leave with a strategy that you can be confident in. Field Notes subscribers will receive a $100 discount at registration with this code: WGHA.

Around town

  • January 16: PwC hosts a webinar with a panel of health experts to examine the issues that will have the most impact on the US health industry in 2019.
  • January 23: Cambia Grove kicks off its 5 Points of Health Care series.
  • January 26: Kristie Ebi, Ali Mokdad, and others present at the LA Global Health Conference.
  • January 31: The World Affairs Council and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center host an educator workshop on increasing gender equality through design.

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

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