Two nationally acclaimed experts shared their thoughts about investing in public health during a panel discussion Tuesday at the GPHA Annual Meeting and Conference.
The panelists were Dr. William Foege and Dr. Mark Rosenberg. Foege is a senior fellow in the Global Health Program and advises the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on strategies that could be usefully pursued in global health. Rosenberg is President and CEO of the Task Force for Global Health, and Director and the Task Force’s Center for Global Health Collaboration.
The panelists answered a variety of questions about improving public health, with a focus on where and how to best invest the resources of money, time and talent.
Rosenberg advocated for investing in meaningful collaboration. “A lot of people think about collaboration as a tool for getting our way. If I can just bring everyone together, I can convince them that my way is the right way and I can get the outcome I need,” said Rosenberg. “I think if I were going to invest in something to promote public health, I would try to invest in helping people bear witness to the other side. Trying to understand that there are two sides could produce changes we haven’t even thought of.”
Foege also underscored the need to include hands-on public health experience in school curriculum for medical doctors and public health students alike, to help them see the bigger picture. “If you want to become a pediatrician, you have to take care of sick children. If you want to go into public health, you might spend all your time in a classroom,” says Foege. “Now, to think in terms of taking care of a sick community as part of your training – that really does make sense.”
The panel was moderated by Dr. Gary Nelson, President of the Healthcare Georgia Foundation.