Speaker Biographies and Information
Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
If we are going to change people’s lives, we need another level of innovation. Not just technology innovation – system innovation.
Bill Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Along with co-chair Melinda Gates, he shapes and approves grantmaking strategies, advocates for the foundation’s issues, and helps set the overall direction of the organization.
Bill and Melinda Gates work together to expand opportunity to the world’s most disadvantaged people by collaborating with grantees and partners. They also participate in national and international events and travel extensively to focus attention on the issues the foundation champions.
Bill began his major philanthropic efforts in 1994, when he created the William H. Gates Foundation, which focused on global health. Three years later, he and Melinda created the Gates Library Foundation, which worked to bring public access computers with Internet connections to libraries in the United States. Its name changed to the Gates Learning Foundation in 1999 to reflect its focus on ensuring that low-income minority students are prepared for college and have the means to attend. In 2000, to increase efficiency and communication, the two groups merged into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In 1975, Gates left Harvard University in his junior year to focus on Microsoft, the company he founded with his childhood friend Paul Allen. As chief software architect and chairman, Bill led the company to become the worldwide leader in business and personal software, services, and solutions. In July 2008, Gates transitioned into a new role as chairman of Microsoft and advisor on some key development projects.
He is a member of the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Gates grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. His father, William H. Gates Sr., is a co-chair of the foundation and a retired attorney. His late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of United Way International. The Gateses have three children.
The state of the COVID-19 pandemic: Virus emergence, the impact of the pandemic, & US and global preparedness and response
Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health
Anthony S. Fauci, MD, is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, where he oversees an extensive research portfolio devoted to preventing, diagnosing, and treating infectious and immune-mediated diseases. Dr. Fauci has been a key advisor to six Presidents and their administrations on global AIDS issues, and on initiatives to bolster medical and public health preparedness against emerging infectious disease threats such as pandemic influenza. As an HIV/AIDS researcher he has been involved in the scientific effort since AIDS was recognized in 1981, conducting pivotal studies that underpin the current understanding of the disease and efforts to develop therapies and tools of prevention. Dr. Fauci was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which has helped save millions of lives throughout the developing world.
Dr. Fauci is the long-time chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation. He has made many contributions to basic and clinical research on the pathogenesis and treatment of immune-mediated and infectious diseases. He helped pioneer the field of human immunoregulation by making important basic scientific observations that underpin the current understanding of the regulation of the human immune response. In addition, Dr. Fauci is widely recognized for delineating the precise mechanisms whereby immunosuppressive agents modulate the human immune response. He developed effective therapies for formerly fatal inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases such as polyarteritis nodosa, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (formerly Wegener’s granulomatosis), and lymphomatoid granulomatosis.
Dr. Fauci has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how HIV destroys the body’s defenses leading to its susceptibility to deadly infections. Further, he has been instrumental in developing highly effective strategies for the therapy of patients living with HIV/AIDS, as well as for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. He continues to devote much of his research time to identifying the nature of the immunopathogenic mechanisms of HIV infection and the scope of the body’s immune responses to HIV.
Dr. Fauci is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Medicine, and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his scientific and global health accomplishments, including the National Medal of Science, the Robert Koch Medal, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, the Prince Mahidol Prize, The Gairdner Canada Award for Global Health, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been awarded 45 honorary doctoral degrees and is the author, coauthor, or editor of more than 1,300 scientific publications, including several major textbooks.
COI: None noted.
Sanjay Gupta, MD, FACS, Associate Chief of Neurosurgery, Grady Memorial Hospital; Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Emory University School of Medicine; and Chief Medical Correspondent, CNN
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the multiple Emmy®-award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, plays an integral role in CNN’s reporting on health and medical news for all of CNN’s shows domestically and internationally, and regularly contributes to CNN.com.
In addition to his work for CNN, Gupta is an associate professor of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. He serves as a diplomate of the American Board of Neurosurgery. And in 2019, Gupta was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, considered one of the highest honors in the medical field.
Gupta is the author of three New York Times best-selling books, “Chasing Life” (2007), “Cheating Death” (2009) and “Monday Mornings” (2012). His fourth book, “Keep Sharp: Building a Better Brain” will be published in 2021. Gupta received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a Doctorate of Medicine degree from the University of Michigan Medical School.
COI: None noted.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, FFPH, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu is the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and was until January 2018, the Acting Director of the Regional Centre for Disease Control for West Africa. Dr Ihekweazu trained as an infectious disease epidemiologist and has over 20 years’ experience working in senior public health and leadership positions in several National Public Health Institutes, including the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the UK’s Health Protection Agency, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Dr Ihekweazu has led several short- term engagements for WHO, mainly in response to major infectious disease outbreaks around the world including the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
COI: None noted.
Nicole Lurie, MD, MSPH, Strategic Advisor to the CEO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Former Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, DHHS
Nicole Lurie, MD, MSPH is currently the Strategic Advisor to the CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiatives (CEPI). She is also a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Medical School, a member of the research faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine. From 2009-2017 she served as Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the US Department of Health and Human Services. In that role she led the HHS response to numerous public health emergencies, ranging from infectious disease to natural and man-made disasters and is responsible for many innovations in emergency preparedness and response. She also chaired the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise, a government-wide organization ultimately responsible for the development of medical countermeasures, including vaccines against pandemics and emerging threats. Dr. Lurie has a long history in health services research. Prior to federal service, she was the Paul O’Neill Professor of Policy Analysis at RAND, where she started and led the public health preparedness program and RAND’s Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. She has also had leadership roles in academia, as Professor of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Minnesota, as Medical Advisor to the Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Health. Dr. Lurie received her BA and MD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her residency and public health training at UCLA. She is recipient of numerous awards and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. She continues to practice clinical medicine in a community clinic in Washington, DC.
COI: Salary/Consultant Fee – Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations
Susan R. Weiss, PhD, Professor of Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Susan R. Weiss obtained her BA in Biology from Brandeis University and her PhD in Microbiology from Harvard University working on paramyxoviruses. She carried out postdoctoral training in retroviruses at University of California, San Francisco with Drs. J. Michael Bishop and Harold Varmus. She moved to the Department of Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) as an Assistant Professor and began her lab investigating coronavirus pathogenesis. She remained at Penn and is currently Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Microbiology and Co-director of the Penn Center for Research on Coronaviruses and Other Emerging Pathogens. She is a leader in the field of coronaviruses, having worked on many aspects of coronavirus replication and pathogenesis over the last forty years, making contributions to understanding the basic biology of replication as well as the determinants of organ tropism and virulence. She has worked with murine coronavirus (MHV) and MERS-CoV and most recently her lab has focused on the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. Her work for the last ten years has focused on coronavirus interaction with the host innate immune response and viral innate antagonists of double-stranded RNA induced antiviral pathways. Her other research interests include activation and antagonism of the antiviral oligoadenylate-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L) pathway, flavivirus, primarily Zika virus, host interactions and pathogenic effects of host endogenous dsRNA. She is the former Associate Dean for Biomedical Postdoctoral Programs at Penn. She is currently a Governor of the American Academy of Microbiology.
COI: None noted.
Climate change and human health: Navigating environmental, societal, and individual impacts
Sir Andrew Haines, MBBS, MD, FRCGP, FFPHM, FRCP, FMedSci, Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health, Department of Public Health, Environments and Society and Department of Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Sir Andrew Haines was Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine from 2001 – October 2010. He was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the 2nd and 3rd assessment exercises and was review editor for the health chapter in the 5th assessment. He chaired the Scientific Advisory Panel for the 2013 WHO World Health Report, the Rockefeller/Lancet Commission on Planetary Health (2014-2015 and the European Academies Science Advisory Council working group on climate change and health (2018-2019). He currently co-chairs the InterAcademy Partnership (140 science academies worldwide) working group on climate change and health and is also co-chairing the Lancet Pathfinder Commission on health in the zero-carbon economy. He has published many papers on topics such as the effects of environmental change on health and the health co-benefits of low carbon policies. His current research focuses on climate change mitigation, sustainable healthy food systems and complex urban systems for sustainability.
COI: None noted.
Richard J. Jackson, MD, MPH, Professor Emeritus, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles
Richard Joseph Jackson is professor emeritus at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was Department Chair in Environmental Health Science. A pediatrician, he has served in many leadership positions with the California Health Department, including the highest as the State Health Officer. For nine years he was Director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health and received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award. He became a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2011.
Jackson was instrumental in establishing the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program and in the creation of state and national laws to reduce risks from pesticides, especially to farm workers and to children. While at CDC he established major environmental public health programs and instituted the federal effort to “biomonitor” chemical levels in the US population. Jackson lectures and speaks on many issues, particularly those related to Climate Heating and on Built Environment and Health. He has co-authored the books: Urban Sprawl and Public Health, Making Healthy Places, and Designing Healthy Communities for which he hosted a four hour PBS series.
COI: None noted.
Georges C. Benjamin, MD, Executive Director, American Public Health Association
Georges C. Benjamin is a well-known health policy leader, practitioner and administrator. He currently serves as the executive director of the American Public Health Association, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of public health professionals. He is also a former secretary of health for the state of Maryland.
Dr. Benjamin is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine. He is board-certified in internal medicine, a Master of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a fellow emeritus of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He serves on several nonprofit boards such as Research!America, the Truth Foundation and, the Reagan-Udall Foundation. He is also a member of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, a council that advises the President on how best to assure the security of the nation’s critical infrastructure.
COI: None noted.
The Honorable Jane Lubchenco, PhD, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, Oregon State University
The Honorable Jane Lubchenco, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, Oregon State University, is a marine ecologist with expertise in the ocean, climate change, and interactions between the environment and human well-being. She served as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and as part of President Barack Obama’s Science Team (2009-2013), and as the first U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean, a pro bono position with the State Department (2014-2016). She is one of the “most highly cited” ecologists in the world with eight publications as “Science Citation Classics.” She received her PhD in ecology from Harvard University and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, The American Philosophical Society, the Royal Society and other distinguished academies. She has received numerous awards including 20 honorary doctorates and the highest honor given by the National Academy of Sciences, the Public Welfare Medal. She co-founded three organizations that train scientists to be better communicators and engage more effectively with the public, policy makers, media and industry: The Leopold Leadership Program, COMPASS, and Climate Central. She is passionate about scientists engaging with citizens to create knowledge and craft durable solutions to enable vibrant communities, strong economies and a healthy planet.
COI: None noted.
Jacqueline Patterson, MSW, MPH, Senior Director, Environmental and Climate Justice Program, NAACP
Jacqueline Patterson is the Senior Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. Jacqui Patterson has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘s rights, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Patterson served as a Senior Women’s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she integrated a women’s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV&AIDS. Previously, she served as Assistant Vice-President of HIV/AIDS Programs for IMA World Health providing management and technical assistance to medical facilities and programs in 23 countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Patterson served as the Outreach Project Associate for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Research Coordinator for Johns Hopkins University. She also served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica, West Indies.
COI: None noted.
Responding to global crises: Future directions in science and policymaking to address complex threats to society
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
After a long career as Minister of different portfolios at the federal level in Germany, Ursula von der Leyen was appointed by the EU leaders and elected by the European Parliament in 2019. As the head of the European executive, she has defined six headline ambitions for Europe for her mandate: a European Green Deal, a Europe fit for the digital age, an economy that works for people, a stronger Europe in the world, promoting our European way of life, and a new push for European democracy. She has made protecting our climate ‘an existential issue’ and ‘the greatest responsibility and opportunity of our times’. She has led the European Commission’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 crisis, launching Europe’s recovery and shaping the global response to the pandemic.
Judith Rodin, PhD, President Emerita, University of Pennsylvania and Past President, The Rockefeller Foundation
Judith Rodin is a pioneer, innovator, change-maker and global thought-leader. For over two decades, Rodin led and transformed two global institutions: The Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania. A ground-breaking executive throughout her career, Dr. Rodin was the first woman to permanently lead an Ivy League Institution and was the first woman to serve as The Rockefeller Foundation’s president. A research psychologist by training, she was one of the pioneers of the behavioral medicine and health psychology movements. Dr. Rodin’s leadership ushered The Rockefeller Foundation into a new era of strategic philanthropy that emphasized partnerships with business, government, and the philanthropic community to address and solve for the complex challenges of the 21st century. Dr. Rodin championed two new fields that are now pervasive: resilience and impact investing. At Penn, Dr. Rodin presided over an unprecedented decade of growth and progress that transformed the institution, its campus, and the community, taking the university from sixteenth to fourth in U.S. News and World Report national rankings. The University also engineered a comprehensive, internationally acclaimed neighborhood revitalization program in West Philadelphia. Dr. Rodin serves as a member of the board for several leading corporations and many non-profits. She has authored more than 200 academic articles and chapters, and has written or co-written 15 books, including her two most recent, The Power of Impact Investing: Putting Markets to Work for Profit and Global Good and The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong. Her next book will be released by Wharton School Press in early 2021.
COI: None noted.
Sir Jeremy J. Farrar, MBBS, DPhil, Director, The Wellcome Trust
Jeremy Farrar is Director of the Wellcome Trust – a politically and financially independent global charitable foundation that exists to improve health by helping big ideas to thrive. Jeremy is a clinician scientist who before joining Wellcome was, for eighteen years, Director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Viet Nam, where his research interests were in infectious diseases and global health with a focus on emerging infections, he has published almost 600 articles. He was named 12th in the Fortune list of 50 World’s Greatest Leaders in 2015 and was awarded the Memorial Medal and Ho Chi Minh City Medal from the Government of Viet Nam. In 2018 he was awarded the President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian of the Year Award. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences UK, the National Academies USA, the European Molecular Biology Organisation and a Fellow of The Royal Society. Jeremy was knighted in the Queen’s 2018 New Year Honours for services to Global Health.
Niall Ferguson, MA, DPhil, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Niall Ferguson, MA, DPhil, is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He is the author of fifteen books, including The Pity of War, The House of Rothschild, Empire, Civilization and Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, which won the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize. He is an award-making filmmaker, too, having won an international Emmy for his PBS series The Ascent of Money. For the past five years he has written a weekly column for the Sunday Times (London), also published by the Boston Globe and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, amongst other newspapers. It has just been announced that he is joining Bloomberg Opinion as a columnist. In addition, he is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, a New York-based advisory firm, and a co-founding board member of Ualá, a Latin American financial technology company. He also serves as a trustee of the New York Historical Society and the London-based Centre for Policy Studies. His most recent book, The Square and the Tower, was published in the U.S. in 2018, and was a New York Times bestseller. A three-part television adaptation, Niall Ferguson’s Networld, aired on PBS in March 2020.
COI: None noted.
Adrienne L. Hollis, PhD, JD, Senior Climate Justice and Health Scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists
Adrienne Hollis is the Senior Climate Justice and Health Scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists. In that role, she leads the development, design, and implementation of methods for accessing and documenting the health impacts of climate change on communities of color and other traditionally disenfranchised groups. Adrienne works with environmental justice communities to identify priority health concerns related to climate change and other environmental assaults and evaluates climate and energy policy approaches for their ability to effectively address climate change and benefit underserved communities. Within the Climate & Energy program, she is developing and scoping a new research agenda and strategy on climate and health; evaluating climate and energy policies aimed at reducing exposure to negative health and environmental impacts; and recommending policy approaches to foster inclusiveness and greater benefits to underserved communities, and effectively address climate change. Adrienne is both an environmental attorney and an environmental toxicologist, with a PhD from Meharry Medical College and a JD from Rutgers School of Law – Newark.
COI: None noted.
Jim Yong Kim, MD, PhD, Vice Chairman and Partner, Global Infrastructure Partners and former President of the World Bank Group
From July 2012 to February 2019, Kim served as the 12th President of the World Bank Group. Soon after he assumed that position, the organization established two goals to guide its work: to end extreme poverty by 2030; and to boost shared prosperity, focusing on the bottom 40 percent of the population in developing countries.
During Kim’s tenure, the World Bank Group supported the development priorities of countries at levels never seen outside of a financial crisis. Along with partners, the World Bank achieved two successive, record replenishments of the institution’s fund for the poorest countries.
The World Bank Group also launched several innovative financial instruments, including facilities to address infrastructure needs, prevent pandemics, and help the millions of people forcibly displaced from their homes by climate shocks, conflict, and violence.
A physician and anthropologist, Kim’s career has revolved around health, education, and improving the lives of the poor. Before joining the World Bank Group, he served as the President of Dartmouth College and held professorships at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. From 2003 to 2005, Kim served as Director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department. He led WHO’s “3 by 5” initiative, the first-ever global goal for AIDS treatment, which greatly expanded access to antiretroviral medication in developing countries. In 1987, Kim co-founded Partners In Health, a non-profit medical organization that now works in poor communities on four continents.
Kim received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, was recognized as one of America’s “25 Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report, and was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
COI: None noted.
Congresswoman Donna E. Shalala, PhD, US House of Representatives
Congresswoman Donna E. Shalala is proud to serve Florida’s 27th District as an advocate for women’s rights, civil rights, increased access to healthcare, better education and public schools, and a clean and sustainable environment. The longest-serving Secretary of Health and Human Services in U.S. history, she returns to Washington as the Representative for Florida’s 27th District, which includes the city of Miami and surrounding municipalities in Miami-Dade County.
The granddaughter of immigrants from Lebanon, Congresswoman Shalala was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her A.B. from Western College for Women and her Ph.D. from Syracuse University. A distinguished educator, she served as President of Hunter College of the City University of New York, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin—Madison, and President of the University of Miami. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has been elected to seven national academies, including the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Education.
Congresswoman Shalala began her career in public service as one of the country’s first Peace Corps volunteers in Iran. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter tapped her to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In 1993, Congresswoman Shalala was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), where she created, implemented, and oversaw the Children’s Health Insurance Program, currently covering over 7.6 million children. She also succeeded in doubling the budget of the National Institute of Health and secured the highest immunization rates in American history. At the end of her eight-year tenure at HHS, a Washington Post article described her as “one of the most successful government managers of modern times.”
In 2007, President George W. Bush hand-picked her to co-chair with Senator Bob Dole the Commission on Care for Returning Wounded Warriors, tasked with evaluating how wounded service members transition from active duty to civilian life. In 2008, President Bush selected her as the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Congresswoman Shalala has been named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report (2005), received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights (2010), was inducted into the National Woman’s Hall of Fame (2011), and has more than five dozen honorary degrees.
COI: None noted.