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As we witness what many believe to be the beginning of a new era of social entrepreneurship, the Millennial Generation in particular recognizes that it’s not just one sector that will help solve our most challenging social problems, but rather a blending of sectors and structures that will create meaningful impact.
For a shining example of this, we turn to Global Health Corps, a Millennial driven movement that’s working on the frontlines to bring attention to global health equity at home and abroad - and to its fearless leader, and former first daughter, Barbara Bush.
The Case Foundation was an early investor in Global Health Corps, and we are watching with great interest as the first class of fellows return from their yearlong posts addressing the extreme disparities in access to healthcare that exist today between the world’s rich and the world’s poor.
What’s so unique about the Global Health Corps model is that few of the fellows (all of whom are recent graduates) had formal training in the health care profession prior to their year of service. As Bush said in remarks at the National Press Club yesterday:
There’s a false assumption that you can’t work in global health if you’re not a medical professional…however, the complexity and scope of today’s challenges require people with diverse skills in medicine and beyond to truly bring innovative sustainable solutions.
Global Health Corps was built on the notion that the rising generation of Millennials have the passion, energy and skills to confront the global health challenges of today and the opportunity to engage effectively right now. However, opportunities are scarce for individuals with backgrounds in program management, supply systems, computer programming, or engineering to embark on a career serving public health. Without these opportunities, too many skilled young professionals are left out and unable to offer innovative approaches to some of the most pressing challenges of our time, and this is precisely the gap that the Global Health Corps is hoping to fill through its fellows program.
Take for example, 26 year old Ameet Salvi who studied engineering at UC Berkeley and landed a job shortly after graduation working on supply chain management at Restoration Hardware and then at the Gap. When Salvi, like so many millennials decided he wanted to take his skills and put them to use for social good, he applied and was accepted to Global Health Corps. As Bush told Salvi's story yesterday, she explained, "his job is to do for the 1 million people of Zanzibar exactly what he did for the Gap - but instead of getting jeans to the Gap, he is working to get life saving medicines into the hands of patients and hospitals that need them most."
Salvi's is but one example of how the rising generation is stepping up to address global health inequity. Bush spoke about the "complexity and scope" of global health challenges, but pointed to the thousands of young people who have signed on to the cause who are making a difference worldwide in helping to solve the problem. "Health care is not something we are willing to read about," Bush said of the younger generation of global citizens. "We are ready to act now."