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Equity Initiative Annual Forum 2021

Feb 14, 2021

The year is off to a great start with this year’s EI forum going virtual. About 80 of us in total shared learning and exchanged ideas and experiences. Of course the ongoing impact of Covid-19 was a recurring theme we were encouraged to develop a vision for the future in which all sectors of society share the goal of health equity.

We were also able to meet CMB’s new president, Dr. Barbara J. Stoll, and learn more about her background in academic medicine and pediatrics, and her impression of CMB’s programs.

Keynote speakers were Dr. Sohail Inayatullah, a futurist and professor at the Graduate Institute of Futures Studies at Tamkang University, Taipei and Dr. Roger I. Glass, Director of the Fogarty International Center and Associate Director for International Research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. In his presentation, Dr. Glass stressed the importance of bringing the benefits of science – including stunning success in the development of COVID-19 vaccines – to as many people as possible. That means focusing on affordability, infrastructure for distribution, and pushing back against an “infodemic” of misinformation. Dr. Inayatullah shared that images, metaphors, and narratives are persuasive tools that can challenge core assumptions and lead communities toward their vision of a better future. He encouraged Fellows to apply these techniques to their work in health equity, reminding them that utopia-like ideas can move into mainstream thinking and ultimately be translated into policy.

Breakout sessions focused on skills for design thinking and media presentations, and country presentations gave us a chance to share updates on developments related to COVID-19 and other health trends, policymaking, and challenges to equity. 

Find out more about the Equity Initiative here.