Time Global Health Summit Opens First Day of Conference

TIME magazine, National Public Radio, PBS, Penguin Books and other media are joining the likes of Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Rick Warren, and Ted Turner at a high-profile gathering intended to focus worldwide attention on "global health."

The three-day Global Health Summit, which begins today in New York City, is part of a week-long multimedia effort to move public health closer to the top of the national agenda.

"The developed nations of the world can no longer ignore the health crisis faced by millions of people every day," said Jim Kelly, managing editor of TIME magazine.

"This is not an insurmountable task," Kelly added. "We have the drugs, the vaccines and the medical knowledge. All we have lacked is the will."

With major support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, TIME has invited more than 400 people from all walks of life—policymakers; religious, civic and business leaders; thinkers and doers; scientists; entertainers; journalists; and public-health officials—to help devise practical solutions to the health crisis in the developing world. The conference is organized around 10 "big questions," from "Why do 10 million children have to die?" to "How do we prepare for the next plague?", and includes among its speakers Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan, Rick Warren and Madeleine Albright.

"It's quite a wide diversity of people," said Christine Gorman, senior health writer for TIME.

"If we work together instead of working against each other, and people bring their best gift to the table, we'll find there is enough to go around; we can make a difference," she added.

In addition to Warren, around two dozen leaders from the faith-based community will be among the more than 400 elite leaders from differing fields of health, government, and civic organizations. They include Ted Haggard, president of the National Evangelical Association; John McCullough, executive director of Church World Service; John Galbraith, president and CEO of the Catholic Medical Mission Board; and Bishop Joao Somane Machado, leader of the United Methodist Church in Mozambique; and the Rev. R. Randy Day, General Secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries in the United Methodist Church.

As part of today’s events, an opening press conference will focus on the role of Americans and American faith communities in fighting for global health. During the conference, the United Methodist Church will announce new African malaria initiative supported by Americans. Rick Warren will also join leaders of the Methodist Church to announce new health initiatives.