Business, Health and the Road Ahead
I remember chatting a year ago with Deepak Chopra, the holistic health leader, in the Green Room of the annual GBCHealth Conference. GBCHealth is a coalition of companies that are addressing global health issues, and Deepak was surprised to see such a wide range of committed businesses in deep conversations on improving the health of their workers, their communities and beyond. He kept asking me why all of these companies invested so much time and energy to be here. He was impressed that so many executives he met—from Safeway, The Coca-Cola Company, Chevron, HEINEKEN, and the mining companies AngloGold Ashanti and Anglo American—all shared such deep engagement and interest.
Similarly, I was surprised to see how engaged this audience of corporate executives was in Deepak’s “all things connected” concept of health and wellbeing. You could hear a pin drop when Deepak spoke about how a holistic approach to wellbeing and health improves overall happiness and productivity in life and work, and he then led 500 business leaders in a surprisingly powerful few moments of quiet meditation. We both felt the positive energy in the room and left the event feeling more energized and better focused on driving positive health outcomes.
In May 15-17 in New York City, executives from over 100 companies, the world’s foremost global health organizations and our non-profit partners will once again gather to deepen our understanding of how business can apply its skills and assets to improving health. They’ll hear from inspiring speakers, like the Earth Institute’s Jeffrey Sachs and the heads of UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. And they’ll roll up their sleeves to learn how to create new health programs and take their existing ones to the next level.
This year’s conference will unveil the latest news in business and global health such as the progress underway in eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Africa, the business case for companies investing in women’s health, the best-buys for saving children’s lives and how multinational companies are teaming up with small social enterprises for better health impact. This year’s conference will have a special focus on the business role in the race to achieve the health-related Millennium Development Goals, the globally-agreed to 2015 targets on maternal and child health, malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS. These goals can only be achieved with accelerated efforts from all sectors, and business is playing a bigger role than ever in this endeavor.
This year’s GBCHealth Conference will prove to be the most galvanizing event on the essential role of business in achieving a healthier world.