A popular thing to do at drinking establishments across the land is known as bar trivia (that is the first sentence of my Claude Levi-Strauss homage book, “Observing Wildlife at Local Watering Holes: One Man’s Journey into the World of Urban Young Professionals and Alcohol”.) You probably have seen the phenomenon – groups of people hundled around tables with team names like Don Quizote, Les Quizarables and (my personal favorite) E = MC Hammer² – all furiously arguing over the name of Mary Louise Parker’s character in Weeds (“Nancy Botwin.”)
Clearly an enjoyable, but generally unproductive activity. Unless you’re using the medium to promote global health!
Now, this isn’t a blog post to advertise Seattle BioMed’s event, especially since it already happened, but this did catch my eye as part of an overall trend of increasing attention to our region’s exciting global health community.
In the last few weeks, there’s been the City Club event on the Global to Local Initiative, the launch of the new Humanosphere blog all about global health in the region, and the NPR story entitled Seattle Benefits From Growth in Global Health.
Now, Global Health Nexus – the initiative we’re part of to raising the national and international profile of our region’s global health community – doesn’t have anything to do with any of these things, per se, but they’re perfect examples of exactly why we exist and what we want to achieve. It’s not only that there’s lot of interesting stuff going on here that we want people to know about. It’s that it’s also exciting, engaging, inspiring and hip in a way that aerospace* and international trade will never be. And that’s not a knock on those two vital parts of our economy, but it does show the potential for truly bringing together our community around a shared vision of making the region the nexus for global health in the world. If you can throw a “quizzo night” on global health and attract over 500 people to a “Party with a Purpose” that gets hip 30-something to go glam to raise money for rotavirus, you’ve got economic development lightning in a bottle. And that lightning in a bottle can be turned into electricity using the conductor that is Global Health Nexus (tortured metaphor, anyone?).
There’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure that Nexus delivers results, but the progress to date is pretty exciting. If we can really bring new investment, jobs, philanthropy and volunteerism to the region’s global health community, it’s a two-fer: economic development that also benefits the world’s most vulnerable people.
And then I’ll be at the next Global Health Bar Trivia night with my team, although we’re still choosing our team name; I’m deciding between AIDS is Enough, Cyrus the Rotavirus, and Malaria from the Bay Area (for the San Fran tech industry transplants among us)…
*Not true in all places…in Alabama, they throw parades for aerospace.