Dr. Richard Carmona Gives Keynote Speech on WiRED’s 20th Anniversary

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW AND BERNICE BORN

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WiRED Director Gary Selnow, WiRED Board Member Suellen Crano, Ph.D., and WiRED Board member Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General
of the United States

iRED International celebrated its 20th year of operation last week at a reception at San Francisco State University. At the event, WiRED Board member Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the United States, delivered a powerful and motivating keynote speech that framed the importance of health education in establishing bonds and uniting people throughout the world. He offered WiRED as a prominent example of an organization working in health diplomacy.

 

WiRED’s Board Chair Anthony Hodge opened the event by introducing WiRED Director Gary Selnow, Ph.D., who presented two awards. One award went to the Medtronic Foundation, represented by Lauryl Boyum, for its funding of many of WiRED’s chronic and infectious disease education programs since 2000. The other award went to Sister Bernadette Nealon and Lillian Dajoh, who received awards for their 15-year partnership with WiRED in providing health education to low-resource communities in Kisumu, Kenya. (Please click to see their acceptance video.) The award presentations were followed by a talk by former WiRED staff member, Gray Maganga, who said that discovering WiRED’s health education programs in his youth in Kenya inspired him and led him to pursue a Ph.D. in Public Health at Harvard University.

 

Dr. Selnow presented a slide show titled, “WiRED: 20 Years in 20 Minutes.” He spoke about WiRED’s global work in countries including Iraq, Kenya, Armenia, Peru and Nicaragua. Dr. Selnow offered accounts of how people have benefited from WiRED’s programs since 1997, and how they have contributed to the effectiveness of WiRED’s programs as well. The anecdotes mentioned doctors, teachers, students, an ambassador and many others who have been involved with the organization during the past two decades.

 

WiRED Board member Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the United States, delivered a powerful and motivating keynote speech that framed the importance of health education in establishing bonds and uniting people throughout the world. He offered WiRED as a prominent example of an organization working in health diplomacy.

WiRED Board member and event organizer Charlotte Ferretti, R.N., Ed.D., introduced Anne Stevens, M.D., Ph.D., who, in turn, introduced Dr. Carmona. His speech was titled “WiRED International Answering the Call: America’s Critical Need for Health Diplomacy, Projecting the Soft Power of the United States.” He described the importance of person-to-person contact between Americans and people in other countries, while engaging in inherently human activities, such as health education. He said that these contacts allow people abroad to experience the generosity and good will of Americans, and they provide Americans with first-hand experience in working productively with people from other cultures. Dr. Carmona says that he views WiRED as a bridge between the United States and many countries on other continents. (Dr. Carmona’s speech will be available soon on video.)

 

Earlier in the day, WiRED’s Governing Board met and mapped out WiRED’s strategic plan for the future. At this time, WiRED’s entire e-library of health modules can be accessed and taken anywhere in the world. Communities in remote areas without power, such as the Peruvian Amazon, can use WiRED’s programs with the aid of a solar panel and battery. During the next three years, WiRED will launch an ambitious global distribution network of its training programs to further expand its virtual reach.

 

Since its inception, WiRED has offered health education free to all. As the organization enters its third decade, the board has confirmed its commitment to providing all of its educational programs without cost to people in underserved regions. WiRED recognizes that populations who need the information most are least able to afford it. With the help of generous donors, WiRED will continue to provide people around the world with the opportunity to access reliable, expertly developed health education programs.

 

 

 

Pictures from WiRED's 20th Anniversary Celebration

 

 

Photos by Keith Mangold

 

 

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