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 – (Jan. 23, 2015) – The next 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: Recommendations for Responding to Global Poverty-Related Diseases.” He is available for media interviews on the topic.

A major victory in American global health policy has been the progress on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, especially goal No. 6, “to combat AIDS, malaria and other diseases,” Hotez said. “Over the last decade, through U.S.-led support for mass treatment programs and other measures, there have been great gains in reducing global mortality and morbidity from HIV/AIDS, malaria and the neglected tropical diseases component of the Millennium Development Goals’ ‘other diseases,'” he said. “Moving forward, the current administration of President Barack Obama and future presidential administrations have unprecedented opportunities to build on this momentum and track record in order to eliminate some of the most important poverty-related diseases worldwide.”

Hotez has five specific recommendations for the U.S. president:

  • Create pilot programs to link neglected tropical disease control initiatives with HIV/AIDS and malaria control initiatives.
  • Direct 2 percent of the U.S. global health budget annually toward a robust pipeline of antipoverty products.
  • Pressure the G-20 member countries to take greater responsibility for reducing their own indigenous disease burdens, as well as those in neighboring countries.
  • Create a center of excellence for neglected tropical diseases and poverty-related infections indigenous to the U.S.
  • Build capacity for producing new vaccines and drugs in the Middle East and North Africa region using a program of science and vaccine diplomacy.

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 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 director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.