Global health folks are too nice. Even though there is frequently disagreement among people regarding what is the best course of action, rarely is there much direct debate. We’ll send letters to the editor, we may post comments on blogs, but rarely do people really go at it one-on-one. Even when people on a panel disagree with one another they generally begin thanking the other panelists, the hosts, all of the attendees, the donors and everyone else before they even begin to be critical.
The last time I saw anyone really duke it out was a debate between Richard Cash and Jim Yong Kim circa 2003 on “prevention vs. treatment” – it was fun. I think we could use a little bit more lively debate in our profession.
I have not attended one before, but Daniel Halperin recently made me aware of a debate series organized by the World Bank on controversial topics on “Emerging Issues in Today’s HIV Response”.
The next debate will be held this Tuesday, June 29, 2010. The topic will be “Behavior change in generalized epidemics has not reduced new HIV infections and is an unwise use of HIV prevention resources.” The topic is controversial and the line up looks good – so maybe it might turn into a real debate!
The Moderator will be Willard Cates, President of Research, Family Health International and the Panelists will be:
- Myron Cohen, MD, Associate Vice Chancellor; J. Herbert Bate Distinguished Professor, Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, and Public Health; Director, UNC Institute of Global Health and Infectious Disease; Chief, Division of Clinical Infectious Diseases,
- Daniel Low-Beer, PhD, Unit Director for Performance, Effectiveness and Impact, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,
- James Shelton, MD, MPH, Science Advisor, Bureau for Global Health, USAID,
- Francois Venter, FCP (SA), Senior Director, HIV Management Cluster, Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit; Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa