PMAC 2022: The World We Want
The 2022 Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) was held virtually again this year (January 26-29), with speakers and participants from across the world. CMB has been a sponsor of PMAC for many years, linking this well-respected international meeting to our Equity Initiative Annual Forum. Together with colleagues and fellows from the Equity Initiative, we were hoping to attend in person.
The theme of this year’s conference, “The World We Want: Actions Towards a Sustainable, Fairer and Healthier Society,” was in many ways a continuation of discussions started during the EI Annual Forum. Experts from a wide range of fields addressed a series of mega trends shaping the 21st century. The program opened with a video of children from around the world describing their “best day,” and explaining why they worried those days might not be possible in the future. Conference speakers and participants then explored the geopolitics of global health, key shifts in the makeup of the world’s population, the opportunity gains and threats of exponential technological change, and imminent and evolving threats to global health, including climate change.
Katalin Kariko, Drew Weissman, and Pieter Cullis were recognized as Prince Mahidol laureates, and in an armchair conversation, the three scientists described how their research paved the way for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 was an underlying topic of many of the other conference presentations, raised in discussions about preparing for future pandemics, the role of political leadership in responding to health threats, and evaluating progress toward the sustainable development goals. Climate change was examined from a range of perspectives and disciplines, as presenters discussed not only environmental degradation but climate’s impact on social and economic equity and the need to invest in robust and resilient health systems.
CMB sponsored a side meeting on “Health Justice in Thailand in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Work in Progress.” Dr Lincoln Chen, who is spearheading ongoing CMB work in the area of health justice, provided a wrap-up for the meeting with consideration of next steps.
Plans are underway for PMAC 2023.We are cautiously optimistic that the meeting will be in person in Thailand next year, a wonderful opportunity to get together with colleagues and EI fellows.