Pillar Talk Webinar Series

PQMD hosts an interactive webinar and discussion series, PQMD Pillar Talks, addressing issues and topics that enhance our work in the areas of disaster response,  health systems strengthening, humanitarian assistance and high-quality medical product donations, and knowledge and innovation.

If you have ideas for topics/speakers please let us know by emailing Victoria Hammond or Juliemarie Vander Burg.

PQMD Pillar Talk: Disruptive Disasters Need Disruptive Technology

September 26, 2023 – 11:00 AM ET

Disasters, man-made and natural, are increasingly disruptive and devasting – impacting more people, locations, and resources. The rate of disasters is increasing during a time of quickened technological innovation across all sectors and systems. While humanitarians increasingly focus on disaster preparedness in addition to response, the technological resources are changing the way people approach solutions, integrate information, analyze data and use insights to improve decision-making, empower communities, improve knowledge and increase awareness and communication.

Can these Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies revolutionize crisis response, disaster risk prevention, reduction and recovery?

Watch the recording of PQMD’s Pillar Talk: Disruptive Disasters Need Disruptive Technology to learn from leading experts as they explain 4IR technologies, the opportunities and challenges associated with them, and what the future holds in Artificial Intelligence, Geographic Information Systems and human interfaces.

Watch the recording!


  • Phillip Chow, CEO, Humanitas
  • Jen Cole, Vice President, Strategy & Impact, Good Machine
  • Letícia Cruxen, Partnerships Assistant, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT)
  • Moderator: Allison Bradshaw, Population Health Manager, Virginia Department of Health; PQMD Technology Consultant

PQMD Pillar Talk – ESG and the Sustainability Dialogue Decoded 

July 25, 2023 – 11:00 AM ET

Watch this revealing and inspiring conversation between sustainability and ESG guru, Paula Luff, and long-time PQMD advocate and global health and development expert, Verónica Arroyave. Paula and Veronica have been at the forefront of CSR, operationalizing sustainability strategies, multi-sector partnerships, and on the frontier of the global regulatory environment for decades.

This conversation focused on what investors are really looking for in corporate engagement, and unpacked and explained ESG terminology, ESG metrics, the intention behind them, and what it means for trends in sustainability.

Watch the recording.


  • Paula Luff, Director of ESG Research and Engagement, DSC Meridian Capital
  • Verónica Arroyave, Vice President Corporate Responsibility and Global Philanthropy, Baxter Healthcare; Executive Director, Baxter International Foundation
  • Moderator: Mark Chataway, Managing Partner, FINN Partners

PQMD Pillar Talk – Context Matters: Response Perspectives from Turkey/Syria Earthquakes

June 27, 2023 – 11:00 AM ET

When natural disasters strike across the globe, highly skilled and trained humanitarian organizations respond in rapid fashion. In-country and across the globe, teams assemble to save lives, safeguard health and safety, and meet the basic needs of the people affected.

But what happens when a disaster strikes in a location that is already facing the consequences of a previous disaster or protracted crisis? In fragile, conflict-affected, and vulnerable settings health systems are often strained beyond capacity, infrastructure is overwhelmed, poverty and food insecurity are pervasive, governance systems are weakened, and resources are constrained. These additional layers of complexity can have a compounding effect on an already traumatized population. So how do humanitarian organizations respond to an emergency within an emergency?

Watch PQMD’s Pillar Talk – Context Matters: Response Perspectives from the Turkey and Syria Earthquakes to learn how within this fragile setting, humanitarian organizations continued their efforts to provide essential health services and psycho-social support, navigated the constantly changing situation and external factors influencing emergency responses, and worked to optimize the use of available yet-widely constrained resources.

Watch the recording.


  • Dr. Mohammad Aljasem, Health Coordinator Syria, International Rescue Committee
  • Adam Jacovou, Turkey Country Director, Project HOPE
  • Michelle Thompson, Associate Director of Emergency Response, Americares
  • Moderator: Courtney Sunna, Director Global Community Investment and YHP, AstraZeneca

Medical Donations Technology Showcase

February 21, 2023 – 11:00 AM ET

PQMD’s February Pillar Talk, was hosted by the Knowledge & Innovation Committee. We lined up a special Technology Showcase to highlight systems, innovations and solutions that increase efficacy and fuel impact of medical product donations. Topics included pharmacovigilance, product placement timelines, seamless interface between donation stakeholders, and last mile solutions. Speakers will be from International Health Partners, International Medical Corps, The Max Foundation and Standard Co. Watch the recording to experience brief product overviews and dive into important dialogue with leaders from these organizations related to their strategic investment in technology and network solutions.

Watch the recording.


  • David Alarcon, Vice President Corporate Finance, International Medical Corps
  • Colleen Harrison-Dodds, Director of Logistics & Systems, International Health Partners
  • TJ Muehleman, Founder and CEO, Standard Co.
  • J. Michael Wrigglesworth, Sr. Director of Programs Strategy and Data Solutions, The Max Foundation
  • Moderator: Jason Chernock, Director of Programs & Partnerships, MedShare

Rare Diseases: Challenges in Accessing Medicines

November 8, 2022 – 10:00 AM ET

View the recording

Rare genetic disorders collectively impact a significant portion of the world’s population. Although individually rare, collectively the 7,000+ rare disorders impact 400 million individuals worldwide. Access to life-saving medicine programs in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) presents a significant unmet need for patients living with rare disorders. For these individuals, challenges are further compounded by the paucity of diagnostic resources in a frail healthcare infrastructure, limited clinician access to rare disease educational programs, and limited or no access to life-saving medications due to lack of accessibility, affordability, and/or availability. There is a need to accelerate patient access to quality medicines, treatments, and services for rare diseases by harnessing the collective expertise of partners with shared values.

On November 8th, PQMD held the Pillar Talk – Rare Diseases: Challenges in Accessing Medicine to learn more how industry and patient advocacy groups and experts are tackling these challenges and working to form the Global Alliance for Rare Disorders Access (GARDaccess) – a patient-centric alliance whereby everyone contributes in a meaningful way, shares a united voice, and cross-collaborates. Through the development of a set of guidelines to ensure safe and quality products and services for patients with rare disorders globally and the formation of a strategic, integrated operating model for global access to rare disease therapies, the mission of GARDaccess is to bring hope and promise to individuals living in LMICs by providing seamless access to life-saving therapies.​​


  • Sara Aswegan, Vice President and Chief of Staff, Rare Disease, UCB
  • Harpreet Ram, President, EVR Consulting
  • Durhane Wong-Rieger, President & CEO, Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders

PQMD Pillar Talk – Long-term Strategies to Support Disaster Recovery:
Multi-Sector Perspectives

October 6, 2022 – 11:00 AM ET

Each disaster is unique, and each requires unique responses. While there is a structured system of managing disasters that includes the four central tenets of mitigation, prevention, response, and recovery, each stage of response is dependent on many factors including but not limited to severity, length, infrastructure, need, and the next disaster.

All disasters and phases of disaster management also hinge on the availability of resources. While the onset of a disaster can result in an influx of compassion and financial generosity from donors and individuals, often media attention fades and donors’ hearts and wallets are diverted as subsequent disasters strike. This can leave recovering communities with dwindling resources that affect their ability to build back, and more importantly, to build back better. How do we ensure that impactful resources are still available to communities that are facing the aftermath of a disaster for years or even decades?

Watch the recording of  PQMD’s Pillar Talk on Long-term Strategies to Support Disaster Recovery: Multi-Sector Perspectives to learn from government, corporate, and non-profit disaster management experts as they reflect on the individual and collective resources that can have a meaningful impact for affected communities.


  • Kimberlin Keller, Global Community Impact (GCI), Johnson & Johnson; Treasurer, PQMD
  • Anna M. Taylor, M.A., PMP, Operational Readiness Branch Chief, FEMA
  • Betsy Warfield, Interim Vice President Emergency Programs, Americares
  • Kavita Sood-Isaacs, Senior Manager, Global Community Relations, Baxter International Inc.; Chair, Disaster Response & Humanitarian Relief, PQMD (Moderator)

PQMD Pillar Talk – Medical Donations: How to be helpful and not harmful

July 21, 2022 – 11:00 AM ET

We see others suffering and we want to help. When conflicts, crises, and disasters arise around the world the response is often a generous outpouring of active support to address the suffering that always comes with these devastating and uprooting events. The collective turmoil brought on by COVID-19 coupled with the searing images of civilians devastated by the war in Ukraine has amplified this admirable and innate reaction to assist wherever possible. Now more than ever before – there are plentiful avenues to provide cash assistance, donate product or contribute a multitude of skills to relief efforts. Technology and connectivity are truly shortening the distance between imminent needs and essential resources. Yet the desire to help can cause additional undue burden and stress that can quickly overwhelm recipients and logisticians if not managed properly. Ultimately, not all help is helpful and this is especially true when it comes to medical product donations.

PQMD members have developed effective and strategic approaches which mitigate harm and foster trusted collaboration in any response. Our members are the experts – international companies and nonprofit organizations who self-certify their practices and pledge to adhere to PQMD’s internationally accepted guidelines for medical product donations. While our guidelines are available to everyone, every day, as a resource to support on-going donation efforts, in this discussion, PQMD members share best practices and pro tips to help navigate the complexities inherent in the timely delivery of critical and lifesaving high quality products to the people who need them.


  • Muhammad Atieh, Regional Project Officer for Medical Donations, Anera
  • Page Buchanan, Senior Manager – Global Patient Assistance Programs and Corporate Social Responsibility,
  • Marcia Roeder, Senior Specialist, Strategic Philanthropy and Gifts in Kind, International Medical Corps; Chair, Donation Guidelines, PQMD
  • Adele Paterson, CEO, International Health Partners, UK (Moderator)

Better evidence and data to transform the way we respond to forced displacement…A conversation with the Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement (JD)

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 @ 11am ET

As we mark World Refugee Day in June, PQMD’s founding member Bette Scott held a conversation with Maja Lazic, Deputy Head of the Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement (JDC). Watch the recording to learn more about the Center, its strategy, and recently released reports and findings. The JDC is jointly institutionalized in the World Bank and UNHCR and works to improve the evidence-base for national policy, development, and humanitarian operations. We are all stakeholders in the work of the JDC to understand the challenges of the forcibly displaced – refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and those who are stateless – and their hosts so that the private sector, civil society, governments, aid agencies, and others can help improve their lives through evidence-informed humanitarian and development action.


  • Maja Lazic, Deputy Head, Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement
  • Bette Scott, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, Program & Strategic Initiatives, USA for UNHCR

The Ukraine Crisis: A Window into the Humanitarian Health Response

Tuesday, May 19, 2022 @ 11am ET

In less than three months – the time that has passed since Russia invaded Ukraine – tens of millions of lives have been upended and people have suffered immeasurable loss. The news media has brought graphic visuals of this war into our homes, and the world has responded generously in support of Ukraine.

PQMD members are among those relentlessly leading the charge to coordinate, assist, and implement aid efforts. Our members are working with health agencies and local partners to support a devastated health sector in Ukraine and overburdened health systems in the surrounding countries experiencing an influx of millions of traumatized refugees. Despite enduring crisis-overload, humanitarian workers are tirelessly providing relief today and preparing for the unforeseeable future.

Watch PQMD’s Pillar Talk, The Ukraine Crisis: A Window into the Humanitarian Health Response. You won’t want to miss this timely and exclusive discussion that brings you unique perspectives and up-to-date information from those that are on the frontlines of the humanitarian response to this unfolding and heart-wrenching crisis.


  • John Roberts, Lead – US Programs, Emergency Response, International Medical Corps
  • Jonathan Spence, Senior Director, Logistics and Procurement, Medical Teams International
  • Katerina Takovska, Regional Advisor, Direct Relief
  • Giorgio Trombatore, Country Director Ukraine, Project HOPE
  • Moderator: Emily Schmidt, Disaster Response Manager, Heart to Heart International

ESG’s Evolution: How did we get here and where are we going?

Tuesday, March 22nd @ 11am ET

The concept of Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) is here to stay! ESG investing takes into account the impact a company has on the world when making investment decisions. ESG encompasses non-financial data that has a short and long term financial impact on business operations, risk/return opportunities, and potential investments. With the rapidly evolving landscape it can feel daunting to keep up with the latest news and changing expectations. Our panel of esteemed ESG professionals helped to shed light on how ESG has evolved into its current state and what’s on the horizon regarding efforts to standardize ESG disclosures and enhanced investor expectations for corporations to take bold action. We focused on why ESG has taken over the interest of investors globally, how the universe of standard-setters is beginning to unify, and what’s expected of corporations and their partners when it comes to pledges/targets and overall enhanced ESG disclosures.


  • Christine Brueschke, Sustainable Investing Analyst, Fidelity International
  • Christopher Deans, Director, Investor Relations, Q4 Inc.
  • Susanne Draeger, Senior Specialist, Sustainability Reporting, UN PRI
  • John Friedman, Managing Director, ESG & Sustainability, GT
  • Moderator: Caitlin Kelly, Senior Finance Manager, Investor Relations, Baxter International

Introduction & Overview: PQMD’s Measuring for Success Toolkit

Thursday, February 3rd @ 11am-11:45am ET

In this webinar, Mitch Eiting (Global Philanthropic and Corporate Giving Manager at Midmark) and PQMD’s Knowledge & Innovation Committee hosted an engaging overview of PQMD’s Measuring for Success Toolkit. Our online, interactive resources make it easier for you to articulate, capture and share results of your most important medical product donations efforts – our team thoughtfully applies a “donations lens” to classic M&E approaches and methodologies. The MFS Toolkit delivers downloadable tools, frameworks, peer-developed case studies and points you towards research and other conversation-starters to complement your NGO and corporate partnership in measuring your product donations work. Join our growing network of people committed to deepening this work at this event, and stay in touch through PQMD’s on-going Community of Practice.

Are you interested in articulating and sharing the impact of your medical product donations work in a clear and consistent way? This session is for leadership, program managers, implementing and funding partners at any stage of the M&E process.

PQMD Pillar Talk – Chronic Challenges & Successes in Chronic Diseases

November 30, 2021, 4:00 PM ET

Chronic diseases are an unavoidable part of the human experience – regardless of age, geography or wealth. Responsible for over 70% of deaths worldwide, chronic diseases are increasingly becoming both a focus and a pressure for health systems around the globe. And, Covid-19 is exacerbating and exploiting not only the vulnerabilities of the individuals with chronic disease conditions but also the capacity of the health systems that care for them.

During PQMD’s Pillar Talk Chronic Challenges & Successes in Chronic Diseases our panelists discuss these challenges as well as advances in equitable chronic disease management including what approaches are not only saving lives but also gathering data, driving research, advancing advocacy, optimizing public-private partnerships, and marching towards sustainability.

Watch the video to learn more about the secret sauce that makes these programs successful and how they are tackling the access, equity, and sustainability challenges that chronically plaque chronic disease.


  • Amanda Fowler, Senior Director of Global Corporate Giving and Executive Director, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation
  • Bryan Murphy-Eustis, Vice President of Programs, The Max Foundation
  • Dr. Graham Ogle, Co-founder, Life for a Child
  • (Moderator) Dr. William Lin, Principal Consultant for EJD Global Health and a Practice-based Academic Supervisor at the University of Bath

PQMD Pillar Talk – Disaster Response: Q&A with Supply Chain Experts

September 28, 2021, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET

During PQMD’s Pillar Talk Disaster Response: Q&A with Supply Chain Experts our panelists tackled the most pertinent supply chain questions including how to optimize efficiency, deal with chokepoints and bottlenecks, mitigate risk, ensure proper sourcing, prepare for future shocks and build resiliency. With decades of best practices and lessons learned to share, our Supply Chain Experts worked to address questions around the vulnerabilities of global supply chains that the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated.


  •  Tapiwa Mukwashi – Director, Global Technical Team, VillageReach
  • Andrew MacCalla, Founder and Principal, Small Footprint LLC

PQMD Pillar Talk: Countering COVID-19 Counterfeiting

July 22, 2021

While there is no agreed upon numerical value for the scale of counterfeit medicines on the global market, estimates range from under $100 billion to over $400 billion in annual sales, there is global agreement that the costs to public health are resoundingly detrimental. Not only do mislabeled, weak, inactive, and poisonous counterfeit medicines directly impact the health and well-being of the individuals relying on them for their therapeutic benefits but they also pose a significant danger to global public health by increasing drug resistance to medicines that are fighting infectious diseases – such as tuberculosis, malaria, and pneumonia. Studies estimate that fake anti-malarial and tuberculosis drugs cause up to 700,000 deaths per year and counterfeit pneumonia drugs kill around 150,000 children annually.

With less resources to devote to substantial regulation and oversight, and the cost of legitimate drugs beyond the reach of much of their population, low-income nations are regularly plagued with counterfeit products and the devastating consequences that follow. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 10-30% of drugs sold in low- and middle-income countries are fake or substandard. While strong/stringent mechanisms are in place to ensure the quality, safety, and effectiveness of medicines/medical products distributed in high-income countries like the United States and parts of Europe, counterfeiters have continued to vex regulators albeit at a much lower prevalence (~1%). However, when COVID-19 hit, as with many other aspects of life, it highlighted all the cracks in the system proving that the medical product supply chain is globally interconnected/interdependent and that no one is beyond the reach of profit-hungry counterfeiters.

At the height of the pandemic in 2020 there was a confluence of factors that came together to generate a global shortage of life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE). To meet unprecedented demand and the urgency to protect frontline healthcare workers, hospitals and vendors were driven to look for PPE beyond their trusted networks and consider high-volume purchases from nontraditional brokers and manufacturers. This provided a path for counterfeiters to bypass the secure medical product supply chain and opened the floodgates to a deluge of counterfeit PPE. The multinational manufacturing conglomerate 3M Company has tracked the seizure of over 41,000,000 counterfeit respirators alone. This influx of counterfeit PPE illustrates how vendors, donors, and end-users must remain extra vigilant in vetting and testing medical products, even under extreme demand pressure. As the pandemic continues to ravage various parts of the globe, counterfeiters sophistication is growing to include fraudulent COVID related medical products, test kits and vaccines. Without effective and vigorous countermeasures these fake products can hinder the world’s effort to emerge from the pandemic.

Watch the recording of our recent Pillar Talk on Countering COVID-19 Counterfeiting. During the discussion our panelists detailed the growth, depth, and evolution of COVID-era counterfeit medical supplies; the impact this has on world-wide health systems and global public health efforts; and dug into counteractive measures that can be taken to deal with this global scourge.

PQMD Pillar Talk: The Effect of Vaccine Nationalism on Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Migrants

June 10, 2021

This month UNHRC warned of a severe shortage of COVID-19 vaccines for refugees and asylum seekers as global infection rates and deaths continue to climb. Through COVAX limited doses have begun to arrive in low- and middle-income nations which host the vast majority of the 80 million forcibly displaced persons across the globe. But even this global sharing mechanism has been stymied and is facing a shortfall of 190 million doses by the end of June. The challenges to vaccinate these at-risk populations continue beyond supply issues as tens of millions of refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and internally displaced persons are being excluded from national COVID-19 vaccination programs; distrust government systems; lack access to the health information, digital technology, documentation, and transportation resources required to get a vaccine; and are facing other life-threatening crises – all-in-all leading to dangerously low vaccination rates among globally displaced populations.

Watch the recording of PQMD’s Pillar Talk: The Effect of Vaccine Nationalism on Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Migrants. During the discussion our panelists detailed the myriad of access issues that are leaving these vulnerable populations behind in the race to vaccinate the globe; providing country specific context for rollout efforts; delving deeper into new challenges COVID-19 has created beyond vaccinations; and elaborating on what is working and what is not in collective efforts to ensure equitable access and uptake to COVID-19 vaccinations.

PQMD Pillar Talk on Health System Strengthening: Forging Ahead on COVID’s Shifting Landscape

May 27, 2021

As Sir Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” In that vein, we should not waste the pandemic crisis. We must take action to fix our struggling health systems now.

But how do we deepen our health system strengthening efforts with so much uncertainty during this COVID-era? How do we plan ahead when the landscape is constantly shifting? How do we ensure the sustainability of programs, maintain our focus on core health outcomes, and protect our hard-fought health gains when needs are constantly evolving as the pandemic plays out?

Watch the recording of PQMD’s Pillar Talk on Health System Strengthening: Forging Ahead on COVID’s Shifting Landscape. During the discussion our panelists grappled with some of these pertinent issues and shared thoughts on how we turn this “either-or” moment into a “both-and” opportunity by coupling COVID efforts with HSS efforts.

PQMD Pillar Talk virtual workshop series: Warming Up to Cold Chain

PQMD is committed to ensuring the availability of high-quality medical products. Global health programs are becoming increasingly sophisticated and leading NGOs and corporations are “Warming Up to Cold Chain”. As a part of increasing access-to-medicines globally, PQMD members are deepening their investment and expertise in safely managing the temperature of medical products from point of origin through distribution to end beneficiaries. Establishment and management of effective Cold Chain solutions takes incredible vision and requires constant commitment at all levels. Alignment of key stakeholder groups is key, PQMD presented an interesting cross-section of perspectives for this event.

In session 1 (Feb. 23) participants discovered unique considerations of working in cold chain.  Watch the recording of session 1 here, and join us for session 2 as we work together with peer-participants to explore emergent issues that arise with improving cold chain capability.

Session 1: Tuesday, Feb 23rd – Watch the recording above!
Warming up to Cold Chain: benefits and risks of establishing Cold Chain capacity

Thank you to our esteemed Panelists!

    • Thomas Tighe, President & CEO, Direct Relief
    • Moeen Tahir, Logistics Manager, The Partnership for Supply Chain Management (PFSCM)
    • Rob Norland, Quality Specialist, Amgen
    • Lina Atat, In-Kind Program Coordinator/Pharmacist, Anera
    • Moderator: Dan Neal, Vice President of Operations, Heart to Heart International

Session 2: Tuesday, March 2nd, 11am‐noon ET
Breaking it Down: practical peer‐to‐peer working session on the complexities of improving Cold Chain

Measuring for Success

February 11, 2021, 11:00 AM- 12:00 PM EST –

How do we know medical product donations are making a difference? The PQMD Measuring for Success (MFS) Toolkit is an online resource dedicated to building Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) capacity in the spirit of advancing the quality, effectiveness and availability of product donations for health development.

Learn about these online, interactive tools and templates and our approach to addressing the recognized gap between the need for meaningful data around medical donations and the ability for organizations to capture and communicate that data effectively. We are bridging this distance and have developed emerging frameworks, case studies and thoughtful insight to complement traditional M&E resources through the lens of medical product donations.

The MFS Toolkit covers five key areas essential to any M&E strategy:

  • Designing M&E initiatives to match your donation programs
  • Planning for these initiatives
  • Methods
  • Reporting
  • Types of Donation Programs

Our MFS Toolkit is the collective work of PQMD’s Knowledge & Innovation committee, and represents the combined thinking of 19 different organizations with professional reach to private business, academia, and non-profit, inclusive of six technical M&E advisors.

Whether you need to describe your programs, track activities, acknowledge stakeholder requests for data, develop the right indicators or communicate results of your donated products – these deepened online resources aim to provide tools, perspective, and inspiration for people working to highlight the results and distinguishing benefits of medical product donations.

Learn more by viewing or Measuring for Success Toolkit flyer or visiting the Toolkit at measuringforsuccess.org.

Special COVID-19 Series: Innovation in the Health Care Supply Chain During the Time of COVID

Presented in collaboration with the World Economic Forum

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the global supply chains. The pressure for medicines, protective equipment, therapeutics, and products to combat both COVID-19 and existing illness and disease will only increase as the pandemic continues and the need for an equitable, inclusive, and efficient distribution of all of these for COVID-19 and other diseases needs to be ensured.

PQMD, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF), hosted a webinar on October 29, 2020 at 10AM where leaders in the fields of healthcare, supply chain and humanitarian services discussed the current distribution landscape for life-saving medicines, vaccines, and other essential goods in the face of this global pandemic. They discussed some examples of innovative mobility solutions and discuss novel technologies that can be used to solve for supply system challenges and generate true community value.

Special COVID-19 Series: Forces Affecting Global Health Security

COVID-19 has shown all of us that epidemics develop suddenly, and new diseases spread unpredictably in our interconnected world. Infectious diseases do not recognize socioeconomic or geographical boundaries with the potential for significant human suffering and economic impact. The establishment of a global health security agenda attempts to improve national and international capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases by mitigating their impact on human lives and economies.

Within the complexity of an epidemic or pandemic, trusted networks and respected leaders are tasked to deliver timely, dependable, and appropriate messaging and recommendations to the public. These actors have traditionally been national and international governments, agencies, and coordinating bodies. Yet, we are seeing that coordinated actions of key “influencing informers” like religions networks, societal influencers, and dependable entrepreneurs also play a critical role in promoting coordinated responses, innovative synergies, and protection for a population – leading to true global health security.

Learn more about the unique power of deeply trusted networks and atypical global health actors when understanding, responding to, and curbing the devastating results of COVID-19.

The panelists addressed:

  • How their activities enhance Global Health Security in ways that are non-traditional
  • The importance of engaging religious groups and leadership to protect global health and preventing COVID-19 spread
  • Activating social networks and societal influencers to impact behaviors that promote health during the pandemic

Special COVID-19 Pillar Talk – Vaccine Promises & Realities – 8/26/20

With over 160 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates currently in development, human trials rapidly moving forward, and the whole world anxious to return to some level of “normalcy” this  is an opportune moment to consider where the world is regarding a vaccine to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

The science surrounding vaccine development is separate from challenges that must be overcome for effective administration of those vaccines. Those challenges may include:

  • Difficult decisions about the value of vaccines with limited efficacy and / or multiple doses
  • Limited supply with projected global need of 16 billion doses
  • Global distribution and supply chain capabilities
  • Public vaccine acceptance, especially of those vaccines in accelerated development
  • Prioritization of populations to receive the vaccine, especially if those who are most vulnerable benefit least from the vaccine
  • Establishing a global framework to guarantee equitable and timely vaccine allocation to include low-and-middle-income countries
  • Ethical challenges in equitable distribution of vaccine within and across populations

PQMD and the World Economic Forum (WEF) have partnered to enable meaningful dialogue centered on these and other challenges in administration of a COVID vaccine and invited top experts to participate in a two-panel event for a PQMD COVID-19 Pillar Talks on SARS-CoV-2:  Vaccine Promises and Realities on August 26, 2020 from 10AM-12PM.

Participants in Panel 1 are challenged to provide historical context for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and how those inform any challenges or opportunities in the development or distribution of this vaccine while  Panel 2 involved high-level representatives of corporations engaged in SARS-COV-2 vaccine development, manufacturing, and distribution.

Panel 1

  1. Arnaud Bernaert Head Of Health And Healthcare, Member Of The Executive Committee, World Economic Forum
  2. Sophie Mathewson, Specialist, Vaccine Policy & Investment, GAVI: The Vaccine Alliance
  3. Dawn O’Connell, USA Director, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)
  4. Dr. Tolullah Oni, Clinical Senior Research Associate, MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge

Panel 2

  1. Dr. Isabelle Deschamps, Head of Global Vaccines and Public Affairs, Sanofi Pasteur
  2. Prof. Raul Machado Neto, Director of Institutional Strategy, Instituto Butantan
  3. Dr. Julia Spencer, Associate Vice President, Global Vaccines Public Policy, Partnerships, & Government Affairs at Merck

Strengthening Health Systems Through Short-Term Medical Missions

PQMD continues its leadership in setting standards for best practices in global health by establishing Standards for Medical Mission Partnerships and Practices (Sending and Host Organizations). In partnership with Americares and under its pillar of Healthcare System Strengthening, PQMD embarked on a multi-year project to develop and test these guidelines.

The full complement of resources available for Short Term Medical Missions is available here: with some resources in both English and Spanish.

The guidelines created during this project were tested in the Philippines, Malawi, and Honduras. This PQMD pillar talk provides an overview of these guidelines and their impact on medical missions in  Honduras from both the recipient and sending organizations.


  • Dr. Patti Tracey, RN, BScN, MHSc, PhD. Nursing Faculty member at Trent University and Research lead PQMD HSS/MM Initiative
  • Dr. Julie Varughese, MD.  Chief Medical Officer and Technical Unit Vice President, Americares and Project Lead PQMD HSS/MM Initiative
  • David Obando Venegas, Trent University. Honduran representative PQMD HSS/MM working group
  • Patti Wagner, RN, BSN. Medical Operations Coordinator at Friends of Barnabas Foundation

Two-Panel Event: The Intersection of WASH and Health Systems Resiliency

Presented in Partnership with

On June 16, 2020, PQMD hosted two timely dialogues on COVID-19 and WASH.  Quality water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure and programs at healthcare facilities are critical for long-term resiliency and effectiveness of a healthcare system. Longstanding challenges exist in institutionalizing safe water, functioning toilets, and adequate availability of hygiene products as essential components of all healthcare facilities. Widely accepted benefits of institutionalizing WASH within the healthcare system include: disease prevention, enhanced quality of care, reduced morbidity and mortality, reduced healthcare-acquired infections and antimicrobial resistance. Also evident is the link between WASH and effectively managed, sustainable healthcare facilities, including enhanced worker safety, productivity and morale.

COVID-19 exposes the critical role of quality WASH infrastructure, targeted interventions and comprehensive approaches in the prevention, spread and management of the disease. With COVID-19, we have the opportunity to take immediate action to protect healthcare workers, and at the same time build the foundation of preparedness and stronger health facilities for the long-term. Organizations and individuals globally are stepping forward, raising and allocating funds for COVID-19 response.

This two-panel session addressed the  coordination of policy and vision “Where WASH fits in the Landscape of Healthcare”, while at the same time highlighting practical information for WASH-inclusive programming, “Operationalizing Commitments for Results”.  Together these panels covered:

Defining the scope of the WASH in healthcare facility challenge and progress toward solutions.
Highlighting the interdependencies between effective WASH systems and other key health system priorities such as immunization effectiveness, AMR, IPC and maternal and child health.
The current pandemic has the potential to uplift WASH financing and fortify WASH infrastructure through unique collaboration, coordination of existing best practices, and new public-private partnerships to include targeted WASH initiatives response and health programming.
The Path Forward. WASH as a fulcrum for connecting and organizing projects to prevent disease and build stronger healthcare institutions.

Panel 1 – 10:00 – 10:45 am EST 
Dr. Alma Crumm Golden, Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Global Health — USAID
Abraham Asmare, WASH Director – Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
Carmen Villar, Vice President, Social Business Innovation — Merck
Peter Laugharn, President & CEO – Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Moderator: Jeff Richardson, Retired VP AbbVie Foundation & Abbott Fund

– Short Break – 

Panel 2 – 11:00-11:45 am EST
Dr. Mirfin Mpundu, President — ReAct Africa
Dr. Willibald Zeck, Unit Chief for the Global Maternal, Newborn and Adolescent Health Program — UNICEF
Dr. John Borrazzo – Senior Maternal, Newborn, and Child Specialist – Global Financing Facility
Moderator: Dr. Veronica Arroyave, Director, Global Community Relations and Executive Director, Baxter Foundation — Baxter

The Diagnostics Landscape

On May 6, 2020, PQMD held a webinar on COVID-19 diagnostics moderated by Gary Cohen, Executive Vice President of Global Health, BD and President of the BD Foundation, and included the following panelists:

  • John Nkengasong, Director, Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Henry Schein
  • Sumin Koo, Deputy Director of Innovative Technology Solutions (Global Health), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Dave Hickey, WW President, Integrated Diagnostic Solutions, Becton Dickinson

The session provided a candid discussion, especially given the current environment, on the availability and accessibility to timely diagnostics in order to provide data for decision-makers in the management, mitigation, and the ability to control the underlying risk of COVID-19 for population health. The panelists considered the three different types of tests under development (PCR-based tests, diagnostic antigen, and serology tests) and the challenges to making them available, affordable, accessible, and scalable in response to the global pandemic.

While there has been a lot of information about testing provided in the media, the panelists addressed some of the misunderstandings and the fact that there needs to be more dialogue so that experts can come to a consensus on how diagnostics should be used to address COVID-19. While the process will not be perfect, the panelists agreed that diagnostics is key to controlling the spread of COVID-19. They also emphasized the importance of private-public partnerships in order to secure access to quality diagnostics.

Toward the end of the session, panelists were asked about whether they thought there could be long-term changes to diagnostics once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.  Panelists discussed opportunities for future action, including increasing the speed of response to get diagnostics into the market through regulatory bodies, such as the FDA, and to make progress on long-term interventions for other diseases, such as malaria. This crisis has also put a spotlight on the need to invest more in prevention and public health

Supporting Global Health Workers During the Covid-19 Crisis

Healthcare professionals are incredible living assets leading the battle to curb the stark toll of human mortality and morbidity caused by SARS-CoV-2.  Yet our experience has shown that healthcare workers are uniquely affected by a cascade of critical shortages in information, personal protective equipment, diagnostics, ventilators, and facilities. Health care professionals are faced with difficult decisions in extremely high-stress environments within the framework of ever-emerging empirical knowledge and best-practices related to COVID-19.

In an effort to support the global health workforce and health systems, together we will discuss what is known about how the workforce is managing under these conditions, strategies for surge preparation, unique considerations for lower- and middle-income countries, how to apply critical lessons from past epidemics/crises, and opportunities to cooperate as the pandemic progresses.

Pillar Talks September 12, 2019