Global AIDS Fighter Receives Alumni Award for Outstanding Service
October 27, 2012 – Dr. Mark Dybul (C’85, M’92), the co-director of Georgetown’s Global Health Law Program and the former United States Global AIDS Coordinator in the Bush administration, received recognition from the university’s alumni association Oct. 26.
The Georgetown University Alumni Association honored Dybul with its Timothy S. Healy, S.J., Award for his comprehensive career in global health, including his role leading the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The plan is the largest international health initiative in history created for a single disease.
The Next Generation
During a ceremony in Gaston Hall, the alumnus noted the research Georgetown conducts on malaria, cancer and other global health issues.
“The most exciting place where universities can act is in [preparing] the next generation,” Dybul said. “Not just the next generation of scientists . . . but the next generation of leaders.”
He said that America needs to think about global health in a “completely different way.”
“The next generation of leaders will help us do that,” the doctor said. “That’s the unique role of the university. I think that’s the unique role of a place like Georgetown, given its Jesuit heritage.”
Dybul, also the visiting distinguished scholar at Georgetown Law Center’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, led PEPFAR from 2006 to the end of the Bush administration.
The award honoring Rev. Timothy Healy, S.J., Georgetown president from 1976 to 1989, recognizes “outstanding and exemplary community, public or professional service in support of humanitarian causes and advancements for the benefit of mankind.”
Dybul is only the third recipient; Sadako Ogata (G’53), the former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and William J. Clinton (F’68), former president of the United States are the previous recipients.
The event also included a panel, “How Global Health Will be Shaped By, and Help Shape, the 21st Century,” made up of leaders in global health research.
Panelists included Barbara Bush, CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Ambassador Eric Goosby; the current U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.
Dr. Howard Federoff, Georgetown’s executive vice president for health sciences, moderated the panel.
Getting education and care to millions of people globally takes partnerships, not just governments and policies, Goosby said.
“The ability to deliver the knowledge to every person requires an orchestration of handoffs that go from national level to the provincial to the district to the town all the way down,” he explained. “When you think about the extraordinary effort that converges to do that, it’s humbling.”
Advice for Students
Bush said improving global health should include an investment in human capital – “getting smart, talented and creative people” to work together on solutions.
“There’s a role for everyone, not only doctors and nurses,” she said.
She offered the example of architects working in the Global Health Corps who have helped reduce the tuberculosis infection rate in Rwandan health facilities by redesigning airflow handlers.
“Figure out what you love, figure out if you are interested in global health and figure out if that skill set can bring a new perspective to the field,” she advised the young people in the audience.
Fauci said increasing effective intervention programs and a vaccine that works in the 55 to 65 percent range could deal AIDS the “knock-out punch.”
“I think we can get there,” he said, adding that a vaccine being tested has already achieved a 31 percent effective rate.
“We can control this epidemic and we can get a vaccine to wipe it out,” Dybul said. “But the epidemic has been not only about [the disease]. It has taught us so much about humanity, the human spirit and how people come together in the face of adversity.”