Tom Paulson

Humanosphere Blogger

The host of the Humanosphere community is Tom Paulson, who spent 22 years reporting on science and medicine at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Tom was one of the first daily news reporters to cover the topic of “global health” (a much-debated label which he discusses the merits of on the Humanosphere website).

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Global Health
1:14 pm
Thu October 20, 2011

‘Five-Step Plan’ to save the planet, can it work?

Can the Earth's future be secured in five 'easy' steps?
Southernpixel Alby Flickr

Rather than simply get overwhelmed by all of the world’s many problems, an environment and land-use professor at the University of Minnesota and his colleagues decided to come up with a workable game plan to simultaneously deal with three major, overlapping forces that dictate our future.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
10:50 am
Tue October 18, 2011

Queen of England bestows honor on PATH’s gizmo guy

Michael Free, at right, has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
PATH

The Queen of England has bestowed an exalted honor on PATH’s top gizmo guy.

Michael Free, chief of technology for PATH, has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his team’s many inventions and innovative approaches aimed at helping solve health problems in the developing world. It’s not quite as prestigious as a Knighthood but better than a sharp poke in the helmet.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
4:13 pm
Sun October 16, 2011

Bill Gates vs. the mosquitoes, who's winning?

One of the tools for fighting malaria is the bed net. Has it been successful?
Matt Handy Flickr

Four years ago the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called for the eradication of malaria. Since then it has spent nearly $2 billion in the effort.

While there has been success, many still wonder: What factors are driving malaria away? What's causing the success? There are also many confounding factors at play ranging from climate change to the mysterious disappearance of mosquitoes in east Africa.

Read more
Global Health
2:54 pm
Wed October 12, 2011

Homeless campout at Gates Foundation, want cash

Danial Emslie unfurls plastic for his bed as homeless people and advocates prepare to sleep in front of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday in Seattle.
Joshua Trujillo Seattlepi.com

“Charity begins at home” and hundreds of people in Seattle are now looking at a wet, cold winter with no place to sleep.

That’s what homelessness advocate Jarvis Capucion said to me when I asked him why protesters decided to camp outside the Seattle campus of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this week.

“Jimmy Buffett’s 'Singing for Change' project gave us $10,000 a few months ago,” said Capucion. “I want to know why Warren Buffett and Bill Gates can’t do the same.”

Read more
Humanosphere
12:21 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Study: Gates-backed project prevented 100,000 HIV infections in India

Woman with AIDS in hospital in India.
John Isaac World Bank

A $258 million initiative sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at preventing AIDS in India appears to have paid off overall, researchers say, resulting in more than 100,000 fewer new HIV infections over five years.

Many aren’t quite ready to judge this project, Avahan, a success, however.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
12:25 pm
Mon October 3, 2011

How the ‘Battle in Seattle’ led to a global health epicenter

So what do the WTO riots and globalization have to do with global health? 'Lots,' says geographer Matt Sparke.
djbones Flickr

How did Seattle get to be a world epicenter for global health?

Most people would say that it’s due to the simple fact that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is here ... but Matt Sparke would say it’s more complicated than that.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
2:30 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Gates announces new push to conquer deadly rotavirus

Rotavirus vaccine given to child in Sudan
Doune Porter GAVI

It kills anywhere from a quarter-million to half-a-million kids every year and is one of the world’s leading causes of child mortality.

But it wasn’t too long ago hardly anybody had even heard of it: Rotavirus. It is the killer bug that set off Bill Gates and gave direction to his philanthropy. Now his foundation is launching a major new global jab against rotavirus and another big killer of young children, pneumococcal disease.

Humanosphere
9:52 am
Tue September 20, 2011

Global health efforts make food, beverage, drug industries nervous

Headquarters of the United Nations.
UN

Chronic or non-communicable diseases (aka NCDs) are the world’s big killers, representing about 60 percent of all causes of death. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease (mostly from tobacco), diabetes and the like kill many more people — most of them in the developing world — than do infectious diseases like AIDS, TB or malaria.

However, developing health goals to combat NCSs often run up against powerful commercial interests in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries.

Humanosphere
8:57 am
Tue September 20, 2011

KPLU's Tom Paulson attending 'weird and wonderful' UN Week

People attend a 'Health Workers Count' event sponsored by Save the Children in New York's Times Square to raise awareness of the importance of midwives and local healthcare providers in developing countries ahead of the Unite Nations General Assembly.
Associated Press

As heads of state, officials and other bigwigs descend on New York City for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, key city streets are closed, the traffic replaced by police officers, patrol cars and vans, and New Yorkers are irritated.

It’s UN Week and most of the buzz is about the Palestinian push for UN recognition as an independent state. President Obama is already in town, scheduled to speak at the UN on Wednesday.

But I’m not here for all that. I just came to see the UN deal with a proposal to re-set the global health agenda — something that, arguably, could do a lot more to increase global stability, our national security and worldwide economic growth than all this other blather. Arguably.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
11:28 am
Fri September 16, 2011

More women in poor countries dying from breast cancer

The number of young women with breast cancer has more than doubled worldwide since 1980, say researchers at Seattle’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Most of this, say the University of Washington global health number crunchers, is in the developing world where women lack access to screening, prevention and treatment programs that have reduced the overall risk of breast cancer for women in the rich world.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
12:05 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Report shows increasing presence of global health 'industry'

The Washington Global Health Alliance and the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development has published a new report describing our region’s growing global health industry (even though they shy away from calling it that, preferring words like “sector” and such).

It’s a fascinating and informative report, showing the growth and increasing economic presence of organizations working on global health in the region.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
4:59 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Fighting global illiteracy with the 'Talking Book'

Kids in Ghana trying out the Talking Book
Literacy Bridge

Words can be just as important as vaccines, drugs or better seeds when it comes to helping the world’s poorest.

And Cliff Schmidt, founder of a Seattle-based organization called Literacy Bridge, has created a device to get these valuable words out to the world’s poorest. It’s called the Talking Book.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
2:30 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Gates Foundation identifies plant vaccination as new initiative

Do you have a solution for making plants more resistant to disease? The Gates Foundation wants to hear from you.
Eric Hershman Flickr

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has done a lot to boost the science and delivery of vaccines for human health and to assist in the fight against disease.

Now, the Seattle philanthropy would like to start vaccinating crop plants to help poor farmers and hopes solutions will emerge through its next round of Grand Challenges Explorations.

Humanosphere
9:14 am
Thu August 25, 2011

Heroic humanitarian narrative - more harm than good?

Stephen Poff Flickr

The heroic narrative is almost irresistible as a storytelling strategy.

But many in the aid and development community think it frequently does more harm than good.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
5:22 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

Critical of U.S. celebrity focus, African writer names top women

Ory Okolloh from Kenya is a Harvard-trained lawyer, activist and blogger. She is No. 1 on the list of young power women of Africa.
Forbes

In response to this somewhat typical (if not also dispiriting) celebration of American celebrity elite – particularly when it comes to lists of "power women" – Nigerian writer Mfonobong Nsehe decided to put together for Forbes his own list of the top 20 young power women of Africa.

Read more on Humanosphere.

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