Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance honors Barbara Bush ’04 for distinguished service
“I founded Global Health Corps (GHC) in 2009 with five other young visionaries who wanted to harness the passion, energy, and skills of our generation to confront the world’s massive health challenges,” said Barbara Bush ‘04 to an alumni audience on Oct. 7. “We at Global Health Corps are building the next generation of global health leaders. And we are motivated by the belief that great ideas don’t change the world — great people do.”
Bush, co-founder and CEO of GHC, was speaking at a gala benefit held by the Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance (YANA), where the group honored her with its inaugural Distinguished Service Award. The event also celebrated YANA’s fifth anniversary and was co-hosted by the Yale Club of New York City, YaleWomen, and the Yale Alumni Association of New York City.
YANA Chair Ken Inadomi ’76 began the evening with a review of the group’s “five years of social impact.” He pointed out “there are over 150,000 Yale alums globally, and we estimate that at least two out of three are involved in nonprofit or social change, whether as board members, advisers, executive directors, practitioners, or volunteers.” YANA, Inadomi said, seeks to “coordinate and leverage the power of Yale’s mission-driven alumni network for the greater common good.”
Marta Moret ’84 M.P.H., first lady of Yale and president of the New Haven-based consulting firm Urban Policy Strategies, presented the award to Bush on behalf of YANA. Yale professor Dean Karlan, founder of Innovations for Policy Action, also attended the tribute and presented closing remarks about anti-poverty work before an audience of nearly 200 Yale alumni and friends.
Bush spoke about how her own days on campus shaped her current work. “Yale holds a very special place in my heart. My four years there were pivotal in igniting and expanding my curiosity about the world and inspired me to grapple with how to focus on service in a global context, a seed that eventually grew into Global Health Corps,” she said.
Founded to address an emerging leadership and management gap in the global health field, GHC recruits, develops, and places diverse young leaders to work within organizations on the front lines of health equity in Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, and the United States. GHC partners with a range of organizations including national ministries of health, UNAIDS, and nongovernmental organizations such CARE, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and Partners in Health, which address a wide range of issues. GHC works with partner organizations to identify gaps where its fellows can make a difference.
Since GHC’s first class of fellows six years ago, many partner organizations boast several generations of GHC fellows working in leadership roles. Christian Benimana, a Rwandan architect and 2011-2012 GHC alumnus, is now the Rwanda country program manager at MASS Design Group. Bryan Eustis Murphy, a former private sector consultant and a 2011-2012 Malawi GHC alumnus, is now executive director for Partners in Health Liberia.
Bush described GHC’s model of pairing two fellows, one from the country where they will work and one from another nation, who serve in a paid fellowship positions with partner organizations for one year. The fellows are all young leaders, ages 21 to 30, from a highly diverse range of backgrounds (including architects, designers, software engineers, private sector consultants and more) and are selected from pool of applicants. Last year, more than 5,000 people applied for just 150 spots, giving the GHC fellowship a less than 3% acceptance rate. In June 2015, the GHC welcomed its seventh class of fellows, comprised of 134 fellows who are now working with 62 partner organizations. Applications open this week for GHC’s 2016-2017 class of fellow, which will include 160 young leaders from around the world.
Since 2009, GHC has worked with nearly 600 young leaders. Their work has ranged from counseling homeless youth on chronic disease management in Newark, New Jersey, to building an electronic medical records system in Malawi, to screening and treating cervical cancer in Zambia. GHC aims to build a community of leaders who are united by the belief that health is a human right, and who can bring a vast range of technical skills and backgrounds to urgent global health issues.
“GHC fellows represent the powerful notion that young people can make an impact in the field of global health now, while gaining necessary skills to be leaders throughout their lives,” Bush says.
GHC trains, coaches, and mentors its fellows throughout the fellowship year and beyond. “We know their year with Global Health Corps is just the launching point for a career as a changemaker in global health,” Bush explained, noting that the group works with fellows to strengthen their understanding and skills in policy-making, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.
“I am proud to have Yale as a partner in building the movement for health equity,” she said, noting that the university serves as host for the GHC Training Institute that kicks off the fellowship year. “Just as Yale served as a launching pad for my career, it provides similar grounding to our fellows as we host our 2.5-week Training Institute on campus every June. … As it was for me, the Yale campus serves as a home for our almost 600 GHC fellows and alums to explore, challenge, and wrestle with the issues and questions surrounding what it means to be a leader within the field of global health,” Bush said.