Field Notes, Update

WHO gets digital, a 300% increase, and front page worthy news

The info hub for the hub of global health

Save the date AND nominate

Save the date to spend October 17 with a couple hundred other leaders at WGHA’s sixth annual Pioneers of Global Health Awards Dinner and Auction. Pioneers celebrates the people and organizations working every day to improve health equity around the world. Buy your ticket (or a table!) today.

And then! Do you know an exceptional global health leader or collaborator? Nominate that person for a 2019 Pioneers Award—Rising Leader, Award for Impact, or Outstanding Global Health Collaboration—before May 10.

Pass the kale chips, please

A new study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation finds that poor diet kills more people globally than tobacco or high blood pressure.

The upside is that eating better can prevent one in five deaths worldwide. Locally, the International Rescue Committee is helping through its Namaste Farm Stand, where newcomers can sell fresh fruits and veggies—grown at the Namaste Community Garden—and you can eat the rainbow.

Measles misery

A 300% increase. While we may want to see that kind of growth in some places, infectious disease isn’t one of them. New data from the World Health Organization shows measles outbreaks are surging nearly 300% globally, with Madagascar bearing the brunt.

While a big global challenge is access, a big domestic challenge is attitude. In our own backyard, Washington’s legislature is reconsidering the vaccine philosophy exemption. A bill to remove the exemption passed the House, and an amended version just passed the Senate on Wednesday. The Senate bill will go back to the House—if passed, it will go to Governor Inslee’s desk.

Front page worthy

Washington’s global health work is making national news:

  • New York Times: Cheap antibiotics are fueling antimicrobial resistance in Kenya, where Washington State University researchers Sylvia Adhiambo Omulo and Guy Palmer are working to stay ahead of resistance.
  • Project Syndicate: Panorama’s Gabrielle Fitzgerald and Rockefeller Foundation Fellow Peter Small lay out a visionary path for how Seattle can disrupt tuberculosis with tech and global health sectors playing on the same team. Humblebrag: Gabrielle is also WGHA’s board chair.
  • Fast Company: Reminding us that global is local, the Tableau Foundation connects its work to eliminate malaria in Zambia to ending chronic homelessness in the United States.

Double down

Two WGHA member organizations are launching new efforts to take down malaria. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding a mapping project to help pinpoint where malaria is and target efforts where it can have the biggest impact. And Malaria No More’s colleagues in the UK helped launch the first-ever voice petition (complete with celebrities like David Beckham) to tell leaders #MalariaMustDie so millions can live.

Looking for a way you can get involved this World Malaria Day? Add your voice to the mix!


The University of Washington (UW) School of Nursing and partners are bringing home the global promise of Nursing Now through the new Nursing Now USA initiative. Both the global and domestic campaigns strengthen nursing to achieve a triple impact—improve health, promote gender equality, and support economic growth.

In other UW news, our friends at the UW School of Medicine just won $45 million through The Audacious Project to develop a lifetime flu vaccine.

WHO gets digital

Digital health is moving at high speed with the release of the first-ever World Health Organization (WHO) digital health guideline, designed to ensure that new technology moves us closer to health equity and good information. PATH and other partners supported the framing and development of WHO’s recommendations. Now if only someone could write one for how to choose a global mobile data plan.

Around town

  • April 25: Join Global Washington to learn about building water systems that last.
  • April 26–28: Attend Western Washington University’s 15th annual student-led Regional Global Health Conference, featuring activist Festus Ibanda Kisa.
  • May 2: Join yours truly for WGHA’s annual mixer—ADJUevent! We only have one mixer a year, and it’s guaranteed to be a blast—food, drinks, a surprise guest, and a raffle giveaway for School of Rock at the Paramount Theatre. Get your ticket today.
  • May 4: Sign up for World Vision’s Global 6K for Water and walk or run locally to provide clean water globally.
  • May 14: Join Washington State University’s (WSU’s) Felix Lankester at Science in the City to learn about rabies in the Serengeti and WSU’s new vaccination trial.
  • May 18: Celebrate 75 years of Bloodworks Northwest and help raise money to save lives while dancing, grabbing a drink, and listening to live music at this annual ball.

“For me, global health is public health without boundaries and borders.”

Ahoua Koné, Health Alliance International, speaking at the Q2 gathering
of Women in Global Health Seattle

Ahoua and fellow panelists talked about their individual paths to global health and the value of being and having mentors along the way to a full house at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. #WGHSeattle

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

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