One of our best local museums, the Museum of Our National Heritage, is hosting a traveling exhibit, “Treasured Lands,” a collection of landscape photographs taken at 58 National Parks over a 15-year period by Dr. Quang-Tuan Luong (MONH), and I had the pleasure of viewing them this past weekend. Hauling a heavy 5X7 large format camera, Dr. Luong drove, flew, hiked, backpacked and kayaked his way through parks from the Dry Tortugas NP off Florida to Wrangell-St. Elias NP in eastern Alaska to Haleakala NP in Hawaii, mostly alone but occasionally with his wife, to capture expansive vistas and unique views. Completed in 2002, his series of park photos, more than 7000 in number, can be seen at his online gallery (Terragalleria) which includes another 14000 or so images from his world travels. Having visited a few of the parks myself and tried to photograph landscapes, I have an appreciation for the composition, lighting, and sense of place he captures. Each photo reflects a tremendous effort and patience and evokes memories of my experience of nature and appreciation of the world we humans should be thankful to inhabit. I’m no expert, and not one for prizes and contests, but if the US has a poet laureate, Dr. Luong should be our landscape laureate. Being an artist is a tough way to make a living and being a landscape photographer seems even harder, so I wish him well and will continue to be inspired by his work, both the process and the output.
But what’s this got to do global health? Meeting and hearing Dr. Luong last week reminded me of the many talented and inspirational people I’ve met over the past year who are applying their experience and skills to the challenges of global health. I ‘m proud to know the following:
Anup Akakihal: Anup has degrees in biophysics and logistics and is building a cell phone-based inventory system for pharmacies to be deployed in low-resource settings in India and elsewhere via his company, Logistics for Global Good (Akakihal);
Jeffery Blander: for more than 15 years Jeff has worked in the public health field as a practitioner, teacher, and innovator specializing the deployment of global health technologies, and is the co-founder of the non-profit foundation, Bienmoyo (Blander);
Marcia de Souza Lima: Marcia is an ophthalmologist with multiple years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and is now the chief medical officer of a non-for-profit company called Releef Initiative (Releef) and is the originator of the LinkedIn group, Pharma Professionals for Global Health (PPGH);
Kevin Killeen: Kevin is a biotech industry veteran and now VP for research and business development for a Boston startup, Matrivax (Matrivax), which is developing cost-effective conjugate vaccines;
John McCoy: John is using his 25 years of biotech/pharma experience to develop glycan-based products with nutritional and anti-diarrheal properties for developing world applications as CSO of Glycosyn, Inc. (Glycosyn);
Michael Pollastri: Michael is a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern University, who, after several years in industry, is working on new methods of drug discovery for the neglected infectious disease (Pollastri); and
Una Ryan: well-know and -respected for her leadership of Avant Immunotherapeutics during its development of several vaccines including two with developing world application (against cholera and enterotoxic E. coli) and advocacy for global health issues, Una is now CEO of Diagnostics for All, a not-for-profit venture developing inexpensive, paper-based diagnostics (DFA).
As another random plug, I mention the upcoming meeting that BVGH and BIO are organizing in conjunction with this year’s BIO conference (Partnering for Global Health Forum, PGHF) and to note that, in addition to the Forum, there are sessions at BIO 2010 with global health implications, e.g.:
-Building Vaccine Capacity in Developing Countries
-New Development Opportunity—Partnering With a Not-for-Profit Company in Neglected Diseases
-Widely Accessible Diagnostic Technologies
-Conquering the Diseases of the Developing World
-Role of Indian Biotech Industry in Promoting Global Health
-Solving Challenges in Global Health Diagnostics, Creating Opportunities in Global Markets.
Specific information on these and others are at the conference site (BIO Sessions).