Unite for Sight Conference Re-Cap!

May 19, 2008

by Carly Panchura

2200 people from 55 countries attended the 5th Annual Unite for Sight Conference at Yale University April 12-13, 2008. The goal of the conference was to exchange ideas and best practices across disciplines in order to improve public health and international development. RMF volunteer Carly Panchura attended on behalf of Real Medicine. Have a look below at the key take-aways!

* 50% of health comes from environmental factors (social, educational and economic), 20% behavioral, 20% hereditary, leaving 10% medical. [Dr. Bradley, Global Health: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century]. Real Medicine is a great example of an organization that bridges the gap amongst these factors..

  • Advice from Dr Kim on “Bridging the Implementation Gap in Global Health”: 1. Select evidence-based interventions, 2. Make sure educational materials are simple and picture based with 3-4 messages per each, 3.Build a reward and recognition system for volunteers (could range from free electricity to assistance with rice-patty digging) and 4. socialize your intervention from home to policy levels.
  • There is a relatively unknown legal structure called L3C which is similar to 501( c)(3) in terms of benefiting a social cause or charitable purpose, yet similar to the LLC organization which has a for-profit structure. This type of organization allows a company or individual to make an equity investment in the cause with a defined rate of return. An example is the Montana Food Bank Network and Volunteer’s of America’s program “Bike Stations”. Look it up!
  • Below are Dr. Sach’s 10 suggestions for Jan 2009 duties of next president of the U.S .: 1. End the Iraq war, 2. End Bush’s tax cuts, 3. Increase spending on sustainable energy (besides a National Institutes of Health, have a National Institutes of Sustainable Technology, 4. Send an envoy around the world to say that we are back at the negotiating table on climate change, 5. Stop putting food into gas tank (food prices, such as corn tightly linked to energy (ethanol) so unaffordable to many), 6. Sign the convention on bio-diversity and UN Law of the Sea, 7. Invite Senegal, Mali, Chad , Niger, Sudan, Ethiopia,Yemen, S. Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan , etc to say we share a common problem of water stress and climate change, 8. Re-establish funding for UN Population Fund, 9. Make the Millennium Development Goals the centerpiece of international development policies, and 10. Establish a department for international sustainable development to lead the way in water security, hunger and poverty reduction, and achieving MDGs.
    * The Millennium Village Project was developed as a proof of concept of how the MGDs can be reached. It is community based and led, and allows for a needs gap assessment of structures, systems, capacity, training, monitoring and costing. They have calculated that there is a $50 gap per capital per year to get people out of the poverty gap. There are currently 80 Millennium villages. [Sonia Sachs, Millennium Village Product] It was suggested that if you have an NGO you should make contact with this Project!
  • It was suggested that health needs of villages are best satisfied if they are linked into the worldwide web. Villages were encouraged to post their needs on the Web. (IDEA we can work on in the future for RMF — to have RMF volunteers respond to the needs online of our partners internationally)
  • There is a CD in production whose funds go to organizations that are still supporting tsunami relief. Has anyone heard of it??
  • Teach principles not solutions in global health education!
  • Suggested Readings:They Knew They Were Right, Competitiveness of Nations by Michael Porter, Common Wealth by Jeffrey Sachs, PhD
  • Watch Raising Malawi!
  • For more information or to register for next year’s conference (at Stanford) go to www.uniteforsight.org
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