By Dave Ross, ScD
President and Chief Executive Officer, The Task Force for Global Health
The Task Force was originally conceived to bring together the world’s leading global health and development agencies to raise childhood immunization rates in developing countries. Under the guidance of our founder Dr. Bill Foege, The Task Force provided a mechanism for these organizations to collaborate effectively, which resulted in immunization rates increasing from 20 to 80 percent in just six years.
Today, our expertise in harnessing effective collaboration drives all of our work to improve health conditions for vulnerable populations around the world.
In January 2018, we enter a new chapter in our history when we move into a new headquarters that will help strengthen our essential convening function for major global health coalitions. The centerpiece of this facility will be a 10,000-sq. ft. state-of-the-art conference facility that will allow us to host international meetings of up to 200 people.
The work of these coalitions is critical to protecting and promoting health for people around the world. With our partners, we are making progress in eliminating trachoma, river blindness, and lymphatic filariasis – three diseases that have plagued humanity for millennia. We’re also helping low- and middle-income countries build systems to protect against the next influenza pandemic. And in Latin America, we’re working with partners to develop a regional strategy for combatting Zika.
While supporting our existing programmatic needs, our new facility will also help us move into new areas of global health where there is demand for our services. We are exploring applying our collaborative expertise to help eliminate other infectious diseases such as leprosy and hepatitis and address the growing epidemic of noncommunicable diseases.
Closer to home, we will use the knowledge and lessons gained from our work abroad to launch a new health improvement coalition in DeKalb County focused on social determinants of health, such as lack of access to healthy food, that contribute to poor health outcomes for residents.
Our new headquarters gives us more than just additional space for our growing staff and programs. It will help us realize our vision for a world free of debilitating diseases where all people are served by effective public health systems.