Meet Ilona Kickbusch, Founding Director of the Global Health Centre and Senior Distinguished Fellow in the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and Member of the Virchow Foundation for Global Health Council and Virchow Prize Committee
Ilona Kickbusch holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Sociology of the University of Konstanz. After completing her PhD she started her career at the European Office of the World Health Organization (WHO), holding several senior positions within the organisation until 1998 when she joined Yale University as Professor and Director of the Division of Global Health at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health until 2004. Professor Kickbusch is Founding Director of the Global Health Centre in the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a Senior Distinguished Fellow. She continues to advise the WHO. She also serves as Co-chair in the World Health Summit (WHS) Council. She is a member of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board and serves on other distinguished boards and commissions. Read more on her roles at the Virchow Foundation for Global Health.
From your perspective, why is engagement and awareness raising for global health important?
It is essential because we are and live in an interconnected world. The COVID-19 pandemic amplified that even further. The global community once more realised that “no one is safe until everyone is safe.”
Health is a human right, and we must work together collectively to ensure this – “Health For All” – for all people.
How are you committed to engaging in global health topics within your current professional role and activities?
Ever since I started my academic and professional career, I am passionate about and committed to the global health landscape. All my work is therefore connected to it, pushing for accelerated action to reach health equity driven by human rights. Of particular relevance to this is probably my work with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Health Summit (WHS), further raising awareness for the determinants of health and global health.
How do you hope to achieve greater awareness and engagement for global health in your new role at the Virchow Foundation for Global Health? How can the Virchow Prize for Global Health help to increase awareness?
Reflecting on the decade of working together with Detlev Ganten, Co-Founder of the Virchow Foundation for Global Health, it is truly amazing to see the idea of this Prize come to life. I am proud to have been an active contributor from the beginning and am very happy to see it come to fruition. The Virchow Prize for Global Health itself, but even more so the laureate and her or his work, will be able to make global health tangible for many more people.