By Clare McGrane

It’s easy to see global health as a far-off issue, one that doesn’t have much impact outside isolated parts of the world. But at a symposium on global health today at the University of Washington, leaders in the field argued just the opposite.

Speaking at the symposium in Seattle, Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, emphasized that challenges to global health could have ramifications far beyond health officials and war-torn countries. “In our world of radically increased interdependence, the forces that shape these challenges are universal, and they are not easily reversed,” Chan said.

To tackle these challenges, she and other global health leaders are looking to collaborate across borders, and across industries.

Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who has previously worked at the UW, said he has been working to reach out to one partner in particular: the tech industry.

“The reason I’m going there is to bring a message: these are the issues, these are the problems we need help with,” Piot said. “They’re very good at problem solving, and actually waste far less time on what Freud called the narcissism of small differences that characterizes the health community and the academic community.”


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