John Campbell is a passionate and forward-thinking student in our Science Policy & Advocacy program. As a winner of the Health Security Futures Fellowship, John will be taking his drive and knowledge about effective policy-making to Pakistan, in order to identify the healthy security challenges that can be found within local communities and find tangible solutions to them. As someone who aims to affect change to the global community for the better, John shares his wisdom to those who are interested in international diplomacy and global health policy:
“We live in a world full of disparities. We live in a world where incredible scientific breakthroughs and advancements are available but have still not been translated into policies. We live in a world where people are still dying or suffering greatly because of hunger, non-potable water and other preventable risk factors. We live in a world where one of the biggest burdens is still poverty-related disease. Today, hypertension and other chronic diseases are still neglected in poor-resource settings, whereas in high-income countries, people like my father go to bed every day knowing that they have cholesterol medication.
Recent advances in biomedicine, coupled with rapid technological innovation, are fundamentally changing the ways in which disease is understood, defined and treated. At the same time social, political, economic and regulatory transformations, at both national and global levels, are re-configuring relationships between governments, citizens and private actors, with profound consequences for the production and distribution of health and disease around the world. With its unwavering commitment to social justice and equity, and its refreshingly lucid sense of possibility, the Biomedical Science Policy & Advocacy program at Georgetown uniquely equips its students with a set of skills and understandings that are necessary for future careers in the fields of policy-making and regulation, in health-related governmental and non-governmental agencies, and in university teaching and research. Avoiding both cynicism and blind optimism, the program's incredible faculty are able to provide a critical approach framework to the contemporary global health landscape, as graduate students are encouraged to combine rigorous theoretical analysis with concrete, problem-based and policy-relevant research as tools to re-socialize and politicize disease and health and, in the process, create distinct and innovative impacts that will surely inspire and shape the work of generations of global health scholars and practitioners.
As a result, I have discovered the power of synergy. Synergy at Georgetown is a prime example of “the whole being greater than the sum of the parts,” illustrating that the relationship between the parts is a part in and of itself. This synergy has meant that I have been not just driven to succeed in Global Health Ethics, but am passionate about teaching it to others. I am not simply driven to determine the effect of leveraging innovative mobile health technologies to reduce the burden of HIV in developing countries, I am passionate about using and distributing it fairly and wisely and compassionately. I am not the non-reactive product of this program's catalysis, I am catalytic myself. And armed with a M.S. in Biomedical Science Policy & Advocacy from Georgetown, I will be poised to transform the world around me – generating passion both locally and globally.
As a 2016 Health Security Futures Fellow, I have been afforded the unparalleled opportunity to join a global cohort of early-career professionals and future leaders in health security. The Health Security Futures Fellowship is a State Department-funded fellowship and brainchild of Georgetown professor and Director for International Affairs at the American Society for Microbiology, Jason Rao. As a result of taking Dr. Rao’s One Health class in the microbiology department at Georgetown, I ended up applying for and being selected to participate in this incredible opportunity to work collaboratively with my peers from Pakistan to identify a local health security challenge and develop a tangible solution to meet that challenge.
This year's Fellowship will launch with the Training Institute, held in conjunction with the European Conference on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on April 8-12, 2016. The training institute serves as an intense introduction to concepts in global health, emerging infectious diseases, One Health, food security, science diplomacy, evidence-based policymaking, and advocacy.
I am part of a moment in history where there is so much for which to advocate. We have solutions and we have knowledge. There is a know-do gap, no doubt about it. The world just needs knowledgeable individuals who decide to work toward these solutions, despite the challenges of doing so. People who decide to learn, get trained, and go out there to go head-to-head with this suffering. People who wake up to the reality of the least privileged and decide to act on behalf of those in need. This is where my path toward expanding the human “healthspan” — that is, the total number of years we enjoy good health, not just life—begins.
My generation has to get involved in this moment in history—making poverty history and working for the lives of more than three billion people. Just like the actions of the brave men and women who got involved in the civil rights movement or those who fought against the Holocaust, our actions can forever change the world we live in. For me, this is what having a voice in my generation looks like, and this part of the journey begins with the Futures Fellowship.”