08 February 2013

Why the Global Health Council Failed and is Coming Back

The global health community was left bewildered when the Global Health Council suddenly announced last April that it was closing.

Members of the prestigious, decades-old organization were not warned in advance, participants in the upcoming annual meeting had to abruptly cancel their plans and the GHC’s cryptic explanation (scroll down to April) just left everyone scratching their heads:

“Times have changed… Funding that once existed to promote a broad-based health agenda is now focused on specific health issues. The fundamental shifts in the health landscape have led the Board to revisit the relevance of the organization and determine that the Council’s current operating model is no longer sustainable.”

But times have changed again, apparently.

The organization is being resurrected with a new board, a slightly new name (Global Health Coalition) and with purportedly a new and more relevant strategy.

Along with the resurrection of the GHC has come more detailed explanations of the previous collapse and what is intended to distinguish this new iteration. A Seattle-based organization, theWashington Global Health Alliance, is playing a leading role in this revival (and also serving as a model for strategy) as well as a DC-based aid and development organization, Global Impact, which is acting as the interim administration and secretariat.

But first, a bit of history and a description of how too much dependency upon another Seattle organization, a fairly well known philanthropy run by two former Microsoft executives, led to the demise of the GHC.