U.S. Surgeon General, International Experts Gather for Boston University Global Health Summit

Contact: Sharon Britton, 617-638-4052 | sbritton@bu.edu

(Boston) – U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona and an array of internationally respected leaders and practitioners in the areas of public health, health science and policy, the social sciences and the arts will gather at Boston University on November 16–19 to consider how key global public health issues will evolve over the next 50 years. The conference, “Global Health: A Bridge to the Future,” is the inaugural event of Boston University’s Global Health Initiative (GHI), a University-wide effort aimed at improving the health and well-being of populations throughout the world and educating a new generation of global citizens.

Carmona is one of several experts who will speak at the conference’s opening session on Wednesday, November 16, 4 to 6:30 p.m., in Metcalf Hall, George Sherman Union, 755 Commonwealth Ave. This first session, which is open to the public, will be introduced by BU President Robert Brown and will address the topic What Does “Health” Really Mean? What Will it Mean in 2050? The sessions on Thursday through Saturday will be closed to the public, but the entire conference can be viewed by the public via Web cast through the GHI Web site at www.bu.edu/ghi.

Over 75 experts from developed and developing nations will participate in the four-day event, including the founder and past president of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Doctors Without Borders Bernard Kouchner; former executive director of UNICEF Carol Bellamy; Mexican minister of health Julio Frenk; director of the Indian Council of Medical Research Nirmal Ganguly; anti-poverty advocate and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University Jeffrey Sachs; and software entrepreneur and social activist Mitchell Kapor.

“The point of this conference is to gather these very well-informed and influential experts who are working on vital, current-day problems and ask them stop to consider the horizon of global public health, especially the more distant horizon,” said Gerald T. Keusch, MD, director of the GHI at Boston University. “Our hope is that through a multidisciplinary sharing of ideas and experiences––and a deliberate effort to take the long-term view––participants will come away with new and exciting insights relevant to their own fields of expertise, as well as plan of action to put into place.”

The conference is the first major event for the GHI at Boston University, a new effort dedicated to promoting multidisciplinary research, education, and policy studies on public health. Headed by Keusch, who also holds posts as assistant provost for global health for BU’s Medical Campus and associate dean for global health at BU’s School of Public Health, the GHI will tap the University experts in economics, sociology, psychology, communications, the arts, medicine and public health.

The conference will also sponsor a free, public screening of the 2005 Academy Award-nominated South African film Yesterday, with an introduction and discussion with the producer, Anant Singh, at 7 p.m., on Thursday, November 17 at the Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Ave. The film tells the moving story of a young mother who falls ill with AIDS and, left alone, tries to survive to see her young child go to school.

“Global Health: A Bridge to the Future” is sponsored by the Global Health Initiative at Boston University; the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future at Boston University; the Boston University School of Public Health; the RAND Pardee Center for Longer Range Global Policy and the Future Human Condition; and the RAND Center for Domestic and International Health Security.

The conference is made possible through the generous support of Frederick S. Pardee, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Alan and Sherry Leventhal Fund for Leadership and Innovation at Boston University.