Healthy Journalism

Friday, March 6, 2009

Voices Carry

Let's hear it for Dr. Jim Yong Kim, who earlier this week was named the next president of Dartmouth College. Just one year ago, he came to Athens to speak in the Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard lecture series.

Dan Colley, who heads UGA's Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, and I have been organizing this series together since 2006. And although we can't establish that being featured in it turbo-charges careers that are already in high gear, we can't help but notice that good things happen to Voices from the Vanguard speakers.

Victoria Hale, founder and CEO of the world's first nonprofit drug company, inaugurated the series in January 2006. One month later, she was named a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow.

UC Irvine biologist Tony James, whose lab engineered mosquitoes that can't be infected with the malaria parasite, gave the Voices lecture in March 2006. In April, he was elected to the National Academies of Sciences.

Jim Kim was already a MacArthur "genius" winner when he delivered the February 2008 Voices lecture at the UGA Chapel. He was famous for co-founding Partners in Health with his friend Paul Farmer, and he was chairman of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Kim delivered one of the most compelling Voices lectures ever, he was mobbed by students during the post-talk reception, and dozens of cell phone cameras captured grinning students pressed close to a true public health hero.

And now this Korean-born, Iowa-raised physician and anthropologist is going to be president of an Ivy League institution.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy, and we're proud to have heard his voice here at UGA.


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