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May 8, 2012

The Next Fifty – Global Health Spotlight

by Angi Ramos

Global Health [Photo courtesy of Department for International Development]

If you live or work downtown, you’ve probably noticed the Space Needle is sporting a new orange top in honor of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair.  Seattle Center Foundation’s The Next Fifty celebration includes six months of attractions and activities at Seattle Center in a variety of areas our region is a global leader in – including arts and culture, history, sustainable futures, science and technology, global health, learning, commerce and the innovation economy, and civic action.

Global health is a key component of The Next Fifty celebration because Seattle is continually proven as an international hub for innovative work in this field. Seattle’s work will be featured in themed events and exhibits on the topic throughout the summer months, with a particular focus on July. Event highlights include Agency, a student competition; and Groundswell, which features Melinda Gates as the keynote speaker.

It’s no secret that the greater Seattle region is a world leader for global health innovation and education. Here’s a quick glance at a few of our region’s milestones:

  • 1979: PATH launched its first large-scale international project and helped China modernize its contraceptive factories and increase production of condoms, oral and injectable contraceptives, and intrauterine devices that met international standards.
  • 2010: Seattle BioMed opens the Malaria Clinical Trials Center (MCTC), one of only four centers in the world that can safely and effectively test new malaria treatments and vaccines in humans by the malaria human challenge model.

Most local global health companies don’t need to look back 50 years to see how far they’ve come – in the past few years, local organizations have developed new vaccines, global initiatives and even transformed an entire city block to create the global headquarters for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. More than 50 local organizations and businesses have formed a collaboration, Global Health Nexus, an initiative by the Washington Global Health Alliance, to continue to grow this sector and raise public awareness of global health issues.

From SightLife, a local organization that specializes in eye banking to the Puget Sound Blood Center, a leader in transfusion medicine and research, local organizations have been making an impact on the Seattle community and communities across the globe.

We’re excited to see what happens next on the global health scene. Here’s to the next (next) fifty!

[Photo courtesy of Department for International Development]

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