Despite the United States’ economic prowess and status as a First World country, an estimated 12 million Americans living at the poverty level currently suffer from at least one neglected tropical disease (NTD). Through his research on NTDs, disease and poverty fellow Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., concluded that the world’s neglected diseases — including tuberculosis, hookworm infection, lymphatic filariasis, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis — are born first and foremost of extreme poverty.
At this event, Hotez discussed his book “Blue Marble Health: An Innovative Plan to Fight Diseases of the Poor Amid Wealth,” which asserts that poor people living in wealthy countries account for most of the world’s poverty-related illnesses. Hotez argued that by crafting public policy and relying on global partnerships to control or eliminate some of the world’s worst poverty-related illnesses, it is possible to eliminate life-threatening diseases while at the same time creating unprecedented opportunities for science and diplomacy.
A book signing followed the presentation. Copies of the book were available for purchase courtesy of the Rice University Campus Store.
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Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D., is the Baker Institute fellow in disease and poverty. He is dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is also chief of the Section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine and the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. He is the president and director of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. Hotez is an internationally recognized physician-scientist with expertise in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development. He leads the only product development partnership for developing new vaccines for hookworm, schistosomiasis and Chagas disease. At the Clinton Global Initiative in 2006, he co-founded the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases to provide access to essential medicines for hundreds of millions of people. He is the author of more than 400 original papers and the acclaimed book “Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases” (ASM Press). Hotez previously served as president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and as founding editor-in-chief of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2011, he was awarded the Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Leadership in Inter-American Health by the Pan American Health Organization of the World Health Organization. In 2015, the White House and U.S. State Department selected Hotez as a United States science envoy. Hotez obtained his undergraduate degree in molecular biophysics from Yale University in 1980 (Phi Beta Kappa), followed by a Ph.D. in biochemical parasitology from Rockefeller University in 1986 and an M.D. from Weil Cornell Medical College in 1987.