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Making Big Bets to Improve Public Health

Making Big Bets to Improve Public Health
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Dr Rajiv J. Shah
Victor J. Dzau Distinguished Lecture in Global Health

Victor J. Dzau Distinguished Lecture in Global Health and Alumni Reception

Throughout his career, Dr. Rajiv J. Shah has responded to public health threats around the world by embracing a "big bet" mindset - the belief that large-scale change is possible when the latest advances, unlikely partners, and data-driven measurement come together. Now, as part of The Rockefeller Foundation's $1 billion commitment to addressing climate change, he is leading efforts to advance innovations needed in the face of climate change's many health threats so the most vulnerable can live healthier lives. In the 2024 Victor J. Dzau Distinguished Lecture in Global Health, hosted by the Duke Global Health Institute, Dr. Shah will explain how a "big bet" mindset has driven efforts to respond to significant public health challenges in the past and how it can do so again in the future.


Dr. Rajiv J. Shah is president of The Rockefeller Foundation, a global institution committed to promoting the well-being of humanity around the world through data, science and innovation. Under his leadership, the Foundation raised and deployed more than $1 billion to respond to the COVID pandemic at home and abroad, launched a $10 billion Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet to help secure a just and green recovery, and is currently seeking to advance human opportunity even while reversing the climate crisis. Dr. Shah serves on President Biden's Defense Policy Board and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dr. Shah is the author of Big Bets: How Large-Scale Change Really Happens, published in October 2023. In this book, he shares a dynamic new model for realizing transformative change, inspired by his own work, the Foundation's, and changemakers from around the world.


The Victor J. Dzau Distinguished Lecture in Global Health brings visionary leaders to Duke to discuss cross-cutting issues confronting health, equity and human rights around the world. A reception for global health faculty, staff, students and alumni will precede the talk in Duke's Karsh Alumni Center.

This annual lecture is supported by a gift from former Duke Health chancellor Victor J. Dzau, and his wife, Ruth Cooper-Dzau, as well as funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Matching Grant.