Special COVID-19 Series
Forces Affecting Global Health Security 

September 17, 2020

12:00-1:00 pm EST


COVID-19 has shown all of us that epidemics develop suddenly, and new diseases spread unpredictably in our interconnected world. Infectious diseases do not recognize socioeconomic or geographical boundaries with the potential for significant human suffering and economic impact. The establishment of a global health security agenda attempts to improve national and international capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases by mitigating their impact on human lives and economies. 

Within the complexity of an epidemic or pandemic, trusted networks and respected leaders are tasked to deliver timely, dependable, and appropriate messaging and recommendations to the public. These actors have traditionally been national and international governments, agencies, and coordinating bodies. Yet, we are seeing that coordinated actions of key “influencing informers” like religions networks, societal influencers, and dependable entrepreneurs also play a critical role in promoting coordinated responses, innovative synergies, and protection for a population – leading to true global health security.

PQMD invites you to a Webinar tomorrow at noon to hear more about the unique power of deeply trusted networks and atypical global health actors when understanding, responding to, and curbing the devastating results of COVID-19. The panelists will consider:

  • How their activities enhance Global Health Security in ways that are non-traditional
  • The importance of engaging religious groups and leadership to protect global health and preventing COVID-19 spread
  •  Activating social networks and societal influencers to impact behaviors that promote health during the pandemic



Meet Our Panelists:

Gabrielle Fitzgerald, Founder and CEO, Panorama Co-Founder, Pandemic Action Network
Pandemic Action Network has a mission “to promote policies that save the most lives and protect livelihoods, both during this COVID-19 crisis and in future pandemics”. The Pandemic Action Network includes representatives from international institutions, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), philanthropies and the private sector. 

Gabrielle has spent her career working to increase awareness, change policies and raise resources to decrease the number of deaths from infectious diseases. Previously, she directed the $100 million Ebola Program at the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, investing in creative approaches to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and participated in working groups advising the United Nations Secretary General, the World Health Organization and the National Academy of Medicine on lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak. Gabrielle previously led the Global Program Advocacy team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, worked with USAID on HIV/AIDS and humanitarian response, and was a speechwriter for President Clinton.

Prof. Dr. Azza Karam, Secretary General, Religions for Peace
Azza Karam serves as the Secretary General of Religions for Peace – the largest multi-religious leadership platform with 90 national and 6 regional Interreligious Councils. She has also served in different positions in the United Nations since 2004: Senior Advisor on Culture, at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); Coordinator/Chair of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development; is currently Lead Facilitator for the United Nations’ Strategic Learning Exchanges on Religion, Development and Diplomacy. 

Dr. Karam holds a Professorship of Religion and Development at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, in The Netherlands – of which she is a citizen. She has lectured in various academic institutions in Europe, North America (including the United States Military Academy/West Point), Africa and the Middle East. She has also published widely, and in several languages, on international political dynamics, including democratization, human rights, peace and security, gender, religious engagement, and sustainable development. She was born in Egypt, and now lives in the United States.


Elizabeth (EJ) Ashbourne, Executive Director, PQMD
As Executive Director of PQMD, Elizabeth (EJ) Ashbourne is responsible for furthering PQMD’s commitment to championing and advancing standards in medical supply and service donations by developing the vision, strategy, and execution of the organizations five pillars of work.


This series is made possible, in part, through a generous contribution from

Learn more about the PQMD's Community of Practice:

If you would like to sponsor an upcoming webinar please contact Jennifer Zolkos or Juliemarie VanderBurg



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