First, if you haven’t yet, read this. It will take 5 minutes.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, MD, have announced, in a letter to their newborn daughter, Max, a financial commitment to solving humanity’s most pressing challenges.
In essence, Mark* is talking about investing in public health. How do we make the world a better place for Max and her generation, and those which will follow? Public health. With appreciation for the needs of the individual, we look at community and system-wide issues that impact everyone. How can we improve education, healthcare, food, environment, etc., to increase everyone’s chance of enjoying a meaningful life? How do we innovate in technology and research to find cures and solve complex problems? How do we take our species into the next century with dignity and resourcefulness?
This is public health. We look long and hard at the issues we have in the world – undernutrition, obesity, cancer, mental health issues, infectious disease, criminal justice, medicine, climate change, humanitarian crises, etc. We try to learn how to treat them now and prevent them in the future. We try to invest in communities so they have the capacity to build a brighter future.
So, public health. Lots of questions. Some ideas about answers. Like any human endeavor, flawed, imperfect, room to improve. However, $45 billion put towards changing the world isn’t going to hurt.
P.S. Did you notice Mark mention paternity leave? Hell yes, let’s support dads getting time with their new babies!?
*Grad school has apparently put me on a first name basis with everyone.