For the past decade, funding budgets for global health have flatlined in the U.S. and around the world. At the same time, political and public enthusiasm for our work arguably has been waning as other issues compete for mindshare. All of this was true even before the 2016 U.S. elections, the outcomes of which have demonstrated the fragility of once popular government leadership and resources.
The bench of global health policy champions also has been on the decline. Members of Congress who have, traditionally, been supporters of our work, are retiring at a rapid pace, with few replacements in sight. As a consequence, leadership and resources are not meeting the growing burden of global health issues, and advocates in Washington are, at best, having to hold the line and play defense instead of working to advance bigger, bolder goals.
This backdrop informed our vision for the 2019 Global Health Landscape Symposium, taking place on December 6. We structured the agenda to focus on redefining global health success in order to inspire a new generation of dreamers and doers.
As a community, we must introduce and explore new models and narratives for global health. We must identify new ways to stretch the boundaries that currently confine us, while continuing to use the things that have allowed us to achieve so much progress. Without doubt, we must all come together to achieve what needs to be done. That is why GHC created the Symposium: we are all far more powerful when we exchange energy and information with each other. Together, there is no question that we can create a big, bold vision for global health that we can, then, collectively work toward.
I hope to see you at this year’s Symposium. I have every expectation that it will be an important conversation that leads to real action. And, it is only the beginning of a dialogue that will continue until we are, once again, making the kind of progress we truly need in global health.