The Task Force for Global Health Celebrates 30 Years of Contributions to Global Health
The Task Force for Global Health celebrated 30 years of contributions to global health at an Oct. 12 event that included a panel discussion with some of the leading voices in global health and development, a tribute to Task Force founder Bill Foege, and the premier of a new documentary about The Task Force.
Ending diseases of extreme poverty was the focus of a panel discussion moderated by Task Force President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Rosenberg. Panelists included World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti, Partners In Health Co-Founder Paul Farmer, and Dr. Foege. In his remarks, Dr. Kim pointed to the close links between public health and economic development and offered a message of hope that “we will be the first generation to see the end of extreme poverty.”
During the event, Dr. Foege was honored for his work in expanding public health and developing a model of collaboration still used by The Task Force today. In a tribute, Dr. Rosenberg spoke of Dr. Foege’s extraordinary accomplishments including eradicating smallpox, getting the world’s leading global health and development organizations to collaborate on universal childhood immunizations, and bringing pharmaceutical companies into global health. Dr. Rosenberg’s remarks were followed by a special video message from Bill and Melinda Gates who credited Dr. Foege for inspiring them to be “impatient optimists.”
The event included an array of speakers who examined The Task Force’s past, present, and future. Dr. Rosenberg, who will retire in early 2016, was recognized for his 16 years of leadership at The Task Force. During Dr. Rosenberg’s tenure, The Task Force became the fourth largest nonprofit in the United States – and now reaches 495 million people in 135 countries.
In his remarks, incoming President and CEO Dave Ross, currently director of the Public Health Informatics Institute at The Task Force, spoke about “filling the shoes of two very great men.” Looking ahead to the next 30 years, Dr. Ross said, “One thing that will not change is the fundamental underpinning of The Task Force model. Still fundamental to The Task Force are compassion, collaboration, stewardship, and global health equity… At The Task Force, collaboration never goes out of style.”