Transformative Leaders for Health Equity in Southeast Asia

Fellows join Lincoln Chen in launching the initiative.

At the Prince Mahidol Award Conference in Bangkok on January 29, CMB announced an unprecedented partnership with the Atlantic Philanthropies to launch an ambitious program to nurture an entire generation of health leaders and a community of fellows and partners to advance health equity in Southeast Asia.  The Transformative Leaders for Health Equity Initiative, supported by a pooled fund of $50 million (AP $40m; CMB $10m) and operating out of new CMB offices in Bangkok and Hanoi, aims to develop 500 leaders over the next two decades through peer, experiential, and online learning on health equity and leadership.  The goal is to energize and empower talented young health professionals with the skills, tools, and networks that will enable them to pursue their own quest for social justice in health.

At the launch event, CMB President Lincoln Chen introduced the program’s co-directors, Le Nhan Phuong of Vietnam and Piya Hanvoravongchai of Thailand, and program manager Jennifer Ryan introduced the inaugural cohort of 15 fellows, seven of whom attended in person. The Fellows will come from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the two neighboring Chinese provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan.  Over time, the program will expand to include all 10 of the ASEAN countries.  The fellowship year will include an opening retreat, a global learning trip to the United States and South Africa, Asian treks to visit innovative health NGOs in the field, a project accelerator workshop to help fellows design their post-fellowship projects, and a final conference that brings fellows and allies together for community-building, backed by continuous online learning.

About 150 people attended the formal launch of The Equity Initiative: Transformative Leaders for Health Equity.  Congratulatory comments were offered by Professor Vicharn Panich, Chair of PMAC; Keizo Takemi of Japan, member of the Global Advisory Board; Bill Summerskill, Executive Editor of The Lancet, Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator of USAID, David Sanders of the University of Western Cape, South Africa, and Tim Evans, Senior Health Leader of the World Bank. A description of the program was published as a Commentary in The Lancet (January 23, 2016).