A Witness to Global Health Cross-Pollination & The Way Forward

By Anne McPherson, Global Health Corps and GBCHealth Social Media Corps

I’m thrilled to be a part of the inaugural Social Media Corps at this year’s GBCHealth Conference! As a long-time health communications professional with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, GBCHealth is an ideal setting for me to observe and absorb the wisdom of some of the world’s leading health practitioners and innovators. I’m excited to cover four distinct panels – The MDGs & The Role of The Private Sector, Born HIV-Free, When Top Meets Bottom, and Secondment and Corporate Volunteering for Global Health. Each promises to be enlightening and invigorating with an impressive line-up of panelist that I’ve looked up to over the years.

I previously worked in the healthcare practice at Edelman Public Relations and now handle the communications at Global Health Corps (GHC), a non-profit that mobilizes a global community of emerging leaders to build the movement for health equity. GHC, like GBCHealth, recognizes the importance of and practices the idea of collaboration and partnership. GHC selects and places talented young leaders from diverse professional backgrounds in non-profits and government offices in the U.S., East Africa and Southern Africa. We work in conjunction with these high impact organizations to identify skills gaps where our fellows can apply fresh thinking to improve health outcomes and increase health access to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

In my previous job, I vividly remember Nancy Turett, Edelman’s former Global Head of Health and GBCHealth moderator, reiterating the phrase “health is everyone’s business” and nothing illustrates that more than the conversations and panel discussions at GBC. Health is a business imperative that has tangible results. Health is something that everyone is affected by and can relate to. Not only can we break down barriers to collaborate on innovative testing methods and new treatment options, we can create new ways to address wellness and preventative care and amplify advocacy and communications efforts in new and creative ways. There are endless opportunities and options for cross-pollination.

All of this innovation is imperative to progress but as Bill Gates said in his annual letter, monitoring, evaluation and measurement are just as important and crucial to continuing the progress in this cross-sector collaborative space. This is an area where the private sector can lend a lot of their methods and expertise to the non-profit and public agencies hoping to track,measure and ideally improve impact.

While I understand United Nations Millennium Development Goals are a major focus for next week’s conference, I hope participants look forward to the post-2015 development agenda and start the conversation around how we can better work together to reach those goals. The global citizenry is ripe for action, bursting with an entrepreneurialspirit that can, and will, improve the health of our society. We have more access to open source tools and technology that allow for easy communication and knowledge sharing so it’s a matter of motivation, resource-sharing, and willingness to execute.

I’m looking forward to being inspired and compelled to act.

“We are all agents of transfiguration.  Go forth and transform your personal relationships, your community, your world, so it becomes hospitable to joy, to justice, to freedom, to peace.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, March 2011 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, CA