Former CDC Chief Launches $225 Million Global Health Initiative

Mike Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates team up to combat the global burdens of heart disease and infectious epidemics.
Sep 19, 2017 11:50 AM ET

Originally posted on

By Lena H. Sun

Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is starting a new initiative to tackle some of global health’s thorniest issues: cardiovascular disease and epidemics.

Frieden, a former New York City health commissioner who spent seven years leading the CDC during the Obama administration, said he chose those two issues based on his “unique vantage point of surveying the world and seeing where there were areas that really are at a tipping point.” Strategic investment and action in each of these areas can make substantial differences, he said. 

The $225 million initiative, called Resolve, announced Tuesday in New York, aims to reduce the global burden of heart disease and stroke, the world’s leading causes of death. It also will focus on helping low- and middle-income countries fight infectious disease epidemics by strengthening laboratory networks so emerging threats are identified promptly, and training disease detectives to track and investigate disease outbreaks, including those that circulate in animals and jump to humans.

Frieden led the CDC longer than any director since the 1970s. Some of the major disease outbreaks that took place during his tenure include the 2009 global H1N1 swine flu pandemic, the deadly respiratory virus known as MERS, and the Ebola and Zika epidemics.

Resolve will be housed in a New York-based public health nonprofit organization called Vital Strategies, which operates in more than 60 countries.

The initiative’s five-year funding is coming from some of the biggest names in global public health: Bloomberg Philanthropies ($100 million), the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative ($75 million) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ($50 million).

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