On September 3rd, CDC Center for Global Health hosted the Global Health Matters Seminar, which featured Dr. Mary Pittman, CEO & President of Public Health Institute, and Dr. Keith Martin, founding Executive Director of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health. Approximately 150 people from CDC offices around the world tuned in virtually, along with in person attendees, which included several CDC staff and our new cohort of incoming fellows. Fellows had the opportunity to speak with both Dr. Pittman and Dr. Martin before the seminar, which was held at CDC Headquarters in Atlanta.
About the Presenters:
Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, is Chief Executive Officer & President of the Public Health Institute (PHI), a US and global non-profit public health organization dedicated to improving health & equity through economic, social, and healthcare innovation. PHI has 700 employees around the globe working on critical public health issues Pittman is a national leader in community health, addressing health inequities and promoting prevention and quality of care. Her experience in health care settings made her an expert adviser in the field of population health and building healthier and more equitable communities and health systems.
Keith Martin, MD is the founding Executive Director of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH), based in Washington, DC. From 1993-2011 he served 6 terms as a Member of Parliament in Canada’s House of Commons, holding shadow ministerial portfolios in foreign affairs, international development, and health. He has been on numerous diplomatic missions to areas in crisis, particularly in Africa. His primary areas of interest are foreign policy, global health, international development, conservation and the environment. As a parliamentarian he founded Canada’s first all-party Conservation Caucus, a platform that connected leading environmental and conservation scientists with policymakers. He has authored more than 180 published editorial pieces and book chapters and has appeared frequently as a commentator on television and radio.
Addressing Global Health Outcomes & Priorities:
Both Dr. Pittman and Dr. Martin addressed current and future global health priorities, by examining the broad challenges and opportunities available to build and retain human resource capabilities and improve health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries and in the U.S. Of special interest during the seminar was exploring opportunities available to augment partnerships with CDC to strengthen global health workforce capacity.
Dr. Pittman highlighted the evidence-driven benefits of capacity building among individuals, organizations and systems to perform core functions sustainably, along with adapting to the changing landscape of global health. Of particular interest were interventions to address public health crises related to the environment, gender, poverty and population movement. Dr. Pittman explored both the technical and soft skills that contribute to a successful global health professional, nothing that collaboration, teamwork and partnership are of key importance.
Dr. Martin emphasized the wide network CUGH provides connecting global health professionals, along with CUGH committees, working groups, and its extensive partnerships around the world. In discussing the current climate of global health, Dr. Martin noted the correlation between corruption and poverty, and the importance of creating and strengthening effective public institutions. He listed a range of ways CUGH could support CDC’s cohorts internationally and domestically, and encouraged continued investment in maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, pandemic prevention, and universal health coverage. Dr. Martin made a specific plea to invest in strengthening public health capabilities to prevent and respond to NCDs (including injury prevention and treatment) and addressing environmental threats. He closed with a call to register for CUGH’s 11th Annual Global Conference: Global Health in a Time of Worldwide Political Change.
The seminar was organized by PHI/CDC Global Health Fellowship Program Director, Mike Sage, in partnership with CDC Center for Global Health. Mike previously worked for CDC for 30 years and is currently a Guest Researcher along with serving as a Program Director for the PHI/CDC Global Health Fellowship Program. Thank you to Mike Sage, Dr. Pittman, Dr. Martin, CDC Center for Global Health, Program Staff, and all of the attendees (both virtual and in person) who made the seminar a success.