Turning great ideas into healthier communities


Introducing the New Medtronic Philanthropy Global Health Leaders

July 01, 2015

PHI is pleased to announce the launch of the Medtronic Philanthropy Global Health Leaders, a new five-year fellowship program in collaboration with Medtronic Philanthropy. Medtronic Philanthropy Global Health Leaders, called Associates, are currently being recruited from within India, South Africa, Brazil, Switzerland and the United States.

The goal of the fellowship program is two-fold: the Associates will provide technical insight, alignment and representation for Medtronic Philanthropy’s programs to increase access to treatment and care for non-communicable diseases (NCDs); and they will help to build a network of local public and private health professionals equipped with knowledge of corporate philanthropy, public health and public-private partnerships and the interface between the corporate and nonprofit sectors as it relates to health and the NCD crisis in their country.

The Medtronic Philanthropy Global Health Leaders builds off of PHI’s decades-long experience running global health fellowship programs, strengthening the capacity of local leaders to improve public health and working to reduce the burden of NCDs in the U.S. and around the world.

PHI will take the lead in recruiting and hiring the program’s Associates, and providing them with ongoing professional training, development and support. 

“I am excited to continue PHI’s work building global health leaders in collaboration with a new partner, Medtronic Philanthropy,” said Esther Tahrir, MPH, PHI’s director of the Medtronic Philanthropy Global Health Leaders. “When it comes to halting the global NCD epidemic, there is so much potential for the traditional public health sector to team up with corporate philanthropy to make an impact. But it starts with building strong public and private health leaders from within affected countries who can forge those new public-private partnerships. The key is trust and finding shared value to work together to improve access to NCD care for the most underserved around the world.”

Two of the first associates that have been recruited for the fellowship program, Ms. Belinda Ngongo, MPH, from South Africa, and Dr. Nayanjeet Chaudhury, MD, MPH, from India, joined us at PHI this week to kick off their fellowship.

“I am hopeful that with a program like this one, we can help move NCDs to the top of the national agenda in South Africa, where they are on the rise,” said Ngongo. “Although chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases are steadily becoming a bigger problem in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is still a huge gap in human and financial resources allocation to combat these conditions. This isn't solely the government's responsibility; other players including private sector or corporations have to take part in this fight. I think that this program is well positioned to demonstrate the power of public-private partnerships in tackling NCDs.”

Non-communicable diseases—such as cancer, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease—are now the leading cause of death around the world, and the NCD burden is growing fastest in countries least prepared to respond.  The suffering, disability and premature death resulting from NCDs weaken families, communities and countries around the globe.

“In India, 60 percent of our deaths are due to NCDs,” explained Chaudhury, who is also a certified personal trainer. “The country has significantly advanced in healthcare, but what it doesn’t have is large-scale NCD prevention initiatives at the community level.”

In-country public health agencies have expertise, experience and community trust, but too often lack resources. Health initiatives emerging from the private sector, including corporate philanthropic efforts, bring extensive resources and often access to innovative new medical technologies, but often lack experience in how to effectively reach communities for greatest impact.

The Medtronic Philanthropy Global Health Leaders aims to bridge this gap by building the public-private capacity of public health leaders like Ngongo and Chaudhury within impacted countries and enabling them to build a new class of public-private professionals that will work collectively to develop sustainable solutions to the global NCD crisis.

“I think corporations have a responsibility to complement the public good while doing socially responsible business,” said Chaudhury. “I aspire to learn from the business enterprises and to help them contribute to more informed strategies towards reducing disparities in public health, particularly in NCDs.”

PHI will soon be recruiting associates in the U.S., Brazil and Switzerland.