Emory Report
April 27, 2009
Volume 61, Number 29


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April 27
, 2009
Serving global health for 25 years

By Kym Estis

On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, a distinguished Emory affiliate and global organization that connects leading experts and valuable resources to help save lives and improve health in communities around the world — is getting a new name and logo.

The Task Force for Global Health succeeds The Task Force for Child Survival and Development as the name for this small, but influential nonprofit, which focuses on the most vulnerable populations, whether in Atlanta or most anywhere on the planet.

“Our original focus was on children, but over time we’ve come to serve people of all ages by addressing health-related issues from infectious diseases to injury prevention to child development,” says Mark Rosenberg, executive director. “This new name more accurately reflects our expanded mission.”

“The Task Force for Global Health is a leading force in world health,” says Charles H. “Pete” McTier, a member of the Task Force Board of Directors and former president of the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. “Atlanta has become the crossroad for global health and the Task Force has contributed immeasurably to our reputation for quality research, collaboration, and capacity for global health leadership.”

In 2008, the Task Force relocated from rented space in Decatur to its own building at 325 Swanton Way in Decatur. Prior to the move, the Task Force launched a three-year Capital Campaign to raise funds for the renovations. The move was necessary to accommodate a growing number of programs and has already paved the way for additional opportunities. Already, the organization has added two new programs, bringing to 10 the number of global health programs in the Task Force.

The programs of the Task Force are led by recognized leaders and innovators in the global health community, including several that work with Emory initiatives. Programs include the Center for Child Well-being; Children Without Worms; Center for Collaboration in Global Health; Global Polio Eradication; Global Road Safety Forum; Lymphatic Filariasis Support Center; Mectizan Donation Program; Public Health Informatics Institute; Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network Inc.; and most recently, the International Trachoma Initiative.

Additionally, the Task Force works with public health practitioners in the U.S. and other countries on activities ranging from the design of information systems to support public health agencies to research on the use of antivirals for the eradication of polio.

“While each program is different, the bottom line is that our partners understand that none of these large global health problems can be solved by a single organization,” says Rosenberg. “To the degree that our partners come to value the true interdependence that effective coalitions nurture, that is the measure of success for each of our programs, and for the Task Force as a whole.”

The Task Force was formed in 1984 by William H. Foege, William Watson and Carol Walters to support a collaboration among the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, and The Rockefeller Foundation, to achieve the goal of universal child immunization.

For more than 25 years, the Task Force has emphasized collaboration with a diverse group of partners to achieve shared strategic goals. The Task Force has facilitated a range of public-private sector partnerships to provide much-needed medicines to treat and prevent disease, as well as to develop collaborative strategies to meet public health goals.

For example, last year alone, the Task Force coordinated the distribution of 150 million doses of medicine to treat diseases such as river blindness, elephantiasis and intestinal worms, drawing upon the organization’s reputation for effective and neutral facilitation. Among its partners, the Task Force works in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies who agree to donate the drugs necessary to eliminate neglected tropical diseases.

To learn more, visit www.taskforce.org/anniversary.