President and Executive Director of the Global Health Council (GSC) Loyce Pace writes a letter to the management of GHC member organizations recounting his first year at GHC.
December 1, 2016.
This was the day I started my term with the Global Health Council as the new executive director. I did not know what to expect. The organization had to update its strategic plan. At the same time, Washington had just been shaken by a shocking election result. We were also anticipating a change of custody at WHO. I wondered what critical role GHC should play in the area of global health promotion and how effective we could be in the end. And I heard from you, as leaders of our member organizations and partners, where you see our value and why you joined us.
We all had to dig a bit for optimism ahead in 2017, given all the unknowns. I often thought of being a so-called CEO in times of peace or war and the implications of the latter, not only for the mission of GHC, but also for our main goal as a global health community. We are heart advocates who are called to "find our fight" in a set of circumstances that are certainly not as usual. In the meantime, we have our pragmatic side: a small voice that wants to find a certain level of compromise and constructive engagement, which lends itself to progressive progress. I would say that both have their place.
Of course, it is essential to repel bad policies and bad decisions. There were a number of disruptive events that we collectively opposed, the Federal Bill t being only one example. I was proud of our community for the fervor and vehemence we have shown against the drastic cuts. It was not just the right thing to do; it was our only option. And we did it together, as one voice. GHC also said it is concerned about the expansion of Mexico City's policy and its impact on global health outcomes around the world. And we challenged the WHO on how it interacts with non-state actors.
Equally important is that global health organizations look at ourselves and make adjustments to the way we do business. It could just be changing the way we talk about what we are doing, finding better language to describe the benefits of global investments in health in terms of GDP or national security. This has resonated with several audiences. Similarly, the identification of different messengers has proved useful. But there is a deeper evolution: global health leaders are wondering what partners, programs or protocols they need to put in place to support the progress they've made so far, perhaps without strong government funding and leadership. It's a change that I realized that the World Health Council can also help our community navigate and come to terms with one another. Thus, our next symposium .
In anticipation of 2018, it seems that we shared a confidence that was lacking this time last year. Now, I do not doubt that we will win critical battles. We will certainly continue to face challenges, but our community has a courage and resilience that is very helpful to us. We also use our resources to play both attack and defense in an intelligent and thoughtful manner. An ideal path is one in which we are just as bold in advocacy as in innovation. I am grateful to our wonderful community for having learned the value of working in this field during my first year, and I look forward to more lessons in the years to come.
Thank you for your support of GHC and your participation in our ongoing efforts to improve global health.