As COVID-19 has taken hold of the world’s attention, Rabin Martin is continuing our weekly COVID-19 Briefings on a diverse set of timely issues as we support our clients through these unsettling times. This week, we are pleased to provide highlights from our team and clients related to the pandemic as well as broader global health issues — in addition to our weekly COVID-19 update. Please click here for earlier issues of our COVID-19 Briefings.
New Alliance with Porter Novelli
To enhance our best-in-class strategic counsel on urgent global health matters, this week Rabin Martin entered into a strategic alliance with Porter Novelli, a communications consultancy and fellow Omnicom agency. The alliance combines the Purpose-driven strategy and scale of Porter Novelli (which has offices in nearly 60 countries around the world) with Rabin Martin’s expertise in crafting strategies, programs, and partnerships to address unmet public health needs.
Boston University School of Public Health Launches 3-D Commission
In May, the Boston University School of Public Health launched a novel partnership to improve population health: The Commission on Health Determinants, Data, and Decision-making (3-D Commission). The Commission, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, aims to inform health-related decisions by leveraging insights on the social determinants of health and harnessing the power of data. Rabin Martin serves as the Secretariat of this new Commission.
Dr. Sandro Galea, Commission Chair and Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, Dr. Salma Abdalla, Commission Lead Project Director, and Dr. Jeffrey L. Sturchio, Rabin Martin CEO, published a recent commentary in PLOS Medicine on “Social determinants of health, data science, and decision-making: Forging a transdisciplinary synthesis.” The commentary explores the rationale for establishing the Commission, which seeks to “improve our understanding of the forces that shape health, and also to create recommendations that will inform decision-making to improve the health of the global population.”
Merck for Mothers Expands its Safer Childbirth Cities initiative
On Monday, June 15, Merck for Mothers announced a call for proposals from community-based organizations across the U.S. to participate in the second cohort of its Safer Childbirth Cities initiative. This effort — currently operating in 10 U.S. cities — supports locally-driven solutions to help cities become safer and more equitable places to give birth. The initiative is a response to poor maternal health outcomes and persistent racial disparities in the U.S. The second cohort will also address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pregnant women and new mothers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased our collective understanding of how social and community factors can drive poor health outcomes,” said Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, Executive Director, Merck for Mothers. “Through Safer Childbirth Cities, our aim continues to be to fuel broad-based action that improves health equity by addressing the effects of systemic racism.”
Rabin Martin is proud to support this bold effort as part of our longstanding partnership with Merck for Mothers.
Global Commission Strives to Accelerate Diagnosis of Rare Disease
In May, the Global Commission to End the Diagnostic Odyssey for Children with a Rare Disease — co-chaired by Takeda, Microsoft, and EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe — reported on its range of activities during the 10th European Conference on Rare Diseases. Earlier this week, Rare Revolution Magazine highlighted the Global Commission’s progress in harnessing technology to speed the time to diagnosis, which can take an average of five years or longer. Rabin Martin is Takeda’s long-term partner on this unique multi-sector initiative.
Novartis Spotlights Progress on Key Environmental, Social, and Governance Topics
Recognizing the need to “[take] its role as a global corporate citizen seriously,” in April, Novartis Global Health and Corporate Responsibility resumed hosting a series of webinars, moderated by Dr. Jeff Sturchio, Rabin Martin CEO, to discuss the topics that matter most to stakeholders. The series focuses on sharing insights and progress the company has made in line with priority issues identified in its most recent materiality assessment. The latest webinar highlighted how the company is adjusting its business operations and supporting its employees, patients, healthcare professionals, and the broader international community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rabin Martin on COVID-19
Spearheading Action on COVID-19
Rabin Martin CEO Dr. Jeff Sturchio continues to engage in the international dialogue on the COVID-19 pandemic, offering perspectives on private sector engagement in the global response. On Friday, June 19, the G7 Research Group published Jeff’s article “Crisis of a Century.” The article explores how the private sector is contributing to COVID-19 epidemic control and argues for cross-sector cooperation to ensure equitable distribution of future treatments.
On Wednesday, June 24, Jeff offered closing remarks at the Corporate Council on Africa’s (CCA) inaugural Leaders Forum — a high-level virtual meeting bringing together senior government officials, private sector executives, and leaders from multilateral institutions to discuss the topic of “Resilient U.S.-Africa Business Engagement to Drive Post COVID-19 Recovery.” As Chairman of CCA, Jeff spoke about the need for collaboration and action (not just commitments) to mitigate the pandemic’s effects. Watch the full panel discussion, featuring Rwandan President Paul Kagame, here.
On Friday, June 26, Jeff participated in a workshop hosted by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on “Public-Private Partnership Responses to COVID-19 and Future Pandemics.” Jeff spoke on the topic of public-private partnership templates for the future, emphasizing the importance of global health security and the need to build capacity across health systems.
Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion within the Workplace
We are working continuously to improve diversity and inclusion at Rabin Martin. In June, Meg Battle, Director of Human Resources, achieved her Employing Abilities @Work Certificate. The Society for Human Resource Management Foundation in partnership with the Workplace Initiative by Understood recently launched this initiative to help employers better understand the opportunities to hire, develop, retain, and advance employees with disabilities, as well as to share best practices for implementing disability inclusion in the workplace.
Influencing Industry Diversity and Inclusion: Inclusivity Gamechangers
This May, Rabin Martin Vice President Afua Basoah was honored by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and included on its inaugural iList of “inclusivity gamechangers” recognizing those who are helping to make their workplaces more inclusive. Speaking to the importance of inclusion, Afua said, “Inclusion is important in ensuring we can all enter the arena of life and have a playing level field to fight a good fight!”
Sharing Perspectives: MTV Staying Alive Foundation
Our London team regularly participates in a series of breakfast conversations with global health leaders. Recently the team heard from Georgia Arnold, Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, who discussed the Foundation’s work to improve health in low- and middle-income countries, especially among young people. In support of the COVID-19 response, Georgia emphasized the importance of non-traditional outreach strategies and noted that the Foundation is producing a mini-series that aims to shift social norms, focusing on behavior change (e.g., hand washing, social distancing) while exploring important topics such as threats of violence, increased risks of HIV, and financial impacts of the pandemic.
COVID-19: An On-going Crisis
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO
Six months after the first cases were reported in China, the COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed down. Rather, spread of the virus is increasing rapidly, hurtling the world to 10 million cases on Monday, June 29.
As countries break their own records for new daily infections, experts are calling for governments to roll back reopening plans and reinstitute stricter social distancing requirements. In Latin America, Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization, warned that deaths in the region could nearly quadruple if countries do not maintain prevention measures. Already, the death toll in Brazil has doubled in the last month (at present, the country has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the world).
In the U.S., the pandemic is viewed by many as a political lightning rod, with Republicans tending to downplay the severity of the crisis and Democrats leaning towards more intensive government intervention. This political divide has led to an inconsistent U.S. response, with a patchwork of sometimes conflicting social distancing regulations. In states that reopened their economies in late May and early June, the majority of which are Republican, infections have spiked.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), testified again before the U.S. Congress this week about the dangers of the growing number of new infections in parts of the country. Dr. Fauci warned that the U.S. could soon see more than 100,000 new cases per day. On Wednesday, July 1, the day after his testimony, the U.S. reported a record 53,000 new cases. Experts caution that even reported numbers under-represents the true caseload. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said testing has likely only captured 10 percent of total U.S. infections.
Anthony Fauci, Director, NIAID
From the Experts
“If any country is saying contact tracing is difficult, it is a lame excuse.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO
Monday, June 29
“The coronavirus is spreading too rapidly and too broadly for the U.S. to get it under control as some other countries have.”
Anne Schuchat, Principal Deputy Director, U.S. CDC
Monday, June 29
“Our outbreak is headed in the wrong direction at top speed.”
Caitlin Rivers, Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
Tuesday, June 30
“Complacency is our enemy in the fight against COVID-19… The battle is tough but it’s far from lost.”
Carissa Etienne, Director, Pan American Health Organization
Tuesday, June 30
“The worst is behind us and the hardest is yet to come…[The pandemic recovery] is as uncertain and as uneven as the shock was decisive and across the board.”
Christine Lagarde, President, European Central Bank
Wednesday, July 1
“This pandemic is a watershed moment for humanity. It can be the moment when we tackle, once and for all, the unacceptable inequities that divide our societies, the moment we commit to having resilient health systems that provide accessible, high quality care for all.”
Helen Clark, former Prime Minister, New Zealand
Wednesday, July 1
Reports from International Governments and Bodies
- WHO COVID-19 Information and Guidance
- WHO Situation Reports, June 29, June 30, July 1
- CDC Coronavirus Resource Page
- COVID-19 Health Systems Response Monitor
- NCD Alliance COVID resources relevant to NCDs
Funding and Policy Trackers
- International Monetary Fund Policy Tracker
- Kaiser Family Foundation Coronavirus Policy Tracker
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Aid Tracker
- Devex Interactive Funding Tracker
Resource Pages and Market Research Literature
- JAMA Resource Center
- The Lancet COVID-19 Resource Centre
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus Research Compendium (NCRC)
- National Academy of Medicine COVID-19 News and Resources
- WIPO COVID-19 IP Policy Tracker
- The COVID Tracking Project
- PharmaIntelligence: Coronavirus – What will the Impact Be?
- Health Affairs Resource Center
- STAT News COVID-19 Tracker
- International Association of National Public Health Institutes COVID-19 Resources
- Primary Health Care Performance Initiative Forum
- U.S. Global Leadership Coalition COVID-19 Issue Briefs
- Prevent Epidemics Weekly Science Review
What We’re Reading
- COVID-19’s Stop-Gap Solution Until Vaccines and Antivirals Are Ready – Brian Simpson, Global Health Now
- FDA to Require Proof Virus Vaccine Is Effective Before Approving Its Use – Thomas Burton, The Wall Street Journal
- The CEO of Novartis on Developing Drugs During a Pandemic – Steven Levy, Wired
- Inside Moderna: The Covid Vaccine Front-Runner With No Track Record and an Unsparing CEO – Peter Loftus and Gregory Zuckerman, The Washington Post
- How The World Missed Covid-19’s Silent Spread – Matt Apuzzo, Selam Gebrekidan, and David Kirkpatrick, The New York Times
- Hollowed-Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus – Lauren Weber, Laura Ungar, Michelle R. Smith, Hannah Recht, and Anna Maria Barry-Jester, Kaiser Health News
For more information or should you have any questions, please contact us.
About Rabin Martin
Rabin Martin is a global health strategy firm working at the intersection of private sector capabilities and unmet public health needs. Rooted in our mission to improve health for underserved populations, we design strategies, programs and partnerships that both deliver public health impact and drive business results. We leverage our deep knowledge and networks across a wide range of geographies and health areas to develop tailored solutions for every client engagement. We have helped many clients create bold global health initiatives and innovative multi-sector partnerships. Our specific areas of expertise include infectious disease and vaccines, non-communicable diseases, rare diseases, maternal and child health, and universal health coverage. Our clients and partners include multinational health care companies, multilateral institutions, government agencies, large foundations and leading NGOs. Rabin Martin is part of the Omnicom Public Relations Group.
About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and eight specialist agencies in public affairs, marketing to women, fashion, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,000 public relations professionals in more than 330 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.