Baker Institute expert lays road map for next US president to combat poverty-related diseases


David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Baker Institute expert lays road map for next US president to combat poverty-related diseases

HOUSTON – (Nov. 19, 2014) – A new analysis reveals substantial global health gains for AIDS, malaria and neglected tropical diseases. Beginning in 2016, the incoming presidential administration can assert American leadership to help control and eliminate poverty-related diseases — including those with pandemic potential — while being mindful of fiscal constraints, said a tropical-disease expert at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Credit: University

Dr. Peter Hotez, the fellow in disease and poverty at the Baker Institute, outlined his insights in a new policy paper, “Blue Marble Health: A New Presidential Road Map for Global Poverty-Related Diseases.” He is available for media interviews on the topic.

A 2014 analysis of programs first targeted by the administration of President George W. Bush in 2003 and then greatly expanded by the administration of President Barack Obama revealed impressive health gains, Hotez said.

“Blue-marble health embraces science and vaccine diplomacy for global poverty-related diseases so that the concept could become an important U.S. policy theme as we prepare to enter the 2020s,” Hotez said. “The year 2016 will present opportunities for a new U.S. president to reinvent America’s commitment to global health.”

Two opposing forces will shape that commitment: maintaining leadership and pre-eminence in this area to continue to project power and maintain global relevance and influence and balancing such aspirations with realistic fiscal constraints, he said.

“Doing so under the auspices of American guidance based on more than a decadelong track record of successes will simultaneously ensure American influence and leadership,” Hotez said.

Hotez is dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, where he is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, head of the Section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine and the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics. Hotez is also president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital’s Center for Vaccine Development.

To interview Hotez, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.


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Hotez biography:

Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top 15 university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.