News & Views

Council Commentary

A Year Into the Pandemic

This past year, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted every country, every community, and every person in this world – but not equally nor in the same ways. For communities who experience vulnerability and marginalization, because structural barriers such as economic inequality, racism, harmful gender norms, and numerous other intertwining factors, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, these challenges have been exacerbated and inequalities even further exposed.

Knowing the potential impacts the pandemic could pose on individuals and communities, we leveraged proven tools and strategies we have used in other global health crises, and rapidly deployed them across 13 countries—often generating and sharing data in real-time. These efforts to provide context-specific data on what was happening, to whom, and the potential risks to their health and wellbeing helped, and continue to inform, the decision making of health authorities and policy makers in India, Kenya, Mexico and many other countries.

Our Research in Humanitarian Settings Task Force (HTF) has been leading the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These researchers and scientists are working with partners around the world to continue to tackle the damaging impact of the pandemic on the health, education, and economic sectors using their expertise in biomedical research and social and behavioral science research. Below we share highlights from our continued COVID-19 response and invite you to visit our new Research in Humanitarian Settings webpage to learn more and access the latest data and perspective on our ongoing COVID-19 response.

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Council Commentary

Q&A with Bidhubhusan Mahapatra, Co-Lead of PERCC Initiative

The increasingly destructive impacts of environmental risks and climate change continue to challenge our planet and disproportionately affect the most vulnerable populations worldwide. This Earth Day, we asked a co-leader of our Population, Environmental Risk and Climate Change (PERCC) Initiative, Bidhubhusan Mahapatra, for his perspective on the Council’s diverse, environmentally focused research portfolio and its relevance for addressing key populations.

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Council Commentary

Celebrating the Life of Dr. Samuel “Sab” Koide

The Population Council celebrates the life of Dr. Samuel “Sab” Koide, a giant at the Center for Biomedical Research, who died earlier this month. Koide spent nearly four decades at the Population Council helping to understand the basic science of reproduction and advance contraceptive development. Koide's discoveries and contributions to science continue to impact the field today.  

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Council Commentary

Time to take critical race theory seriously: moving beyond a colour-blind gender lens in global health

In The Lancet Global Health, Eileen Yam, Deputy Director of Project SOAR and Associate II at the Population Council, along with colleagues from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine; the Antiracist Research and Policy Center and School of International Service at American University; the Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center at Howard University; and the Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice and Health in the Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles; authored a commentary calling upon their peers within the global health sector to meaningfully engage with critical race theory and move beyond a one-dimensional, “colour-blind gender lens.”

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Council Commentary

Population Council Applauds Repeal of Mexico City Policy

The Population Council applauds the recent executive action of the United States (U.S.) Government to rescind the Mexico City Policy, to resume funding to the United Nations Population Foundation (UNFPA), and to restore the U.S.’s relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO). These are essential steps toward advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally.  

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Council Commentary

Enhancing utilization of HIV implementation science findings through the engagement of key decision-makers

Meaningful engagement of key stakeholders throughout the research process is critical to promoting research use in response to the global HIV pandemic. But what does this look like in practice, and what is the added value for those involved? Building on the systematic research utilization process developed by Project SOAR (Supporting Operational AIDS Research), the Population Council hosted an AIDS 2020 Virtual workshop featuring three case studies of collaboration between implementation science (IS) researchers, communities, program managers, and policymakers leading to evidence use across diverse contexts.

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Council Commentary

The Impact of COVID-19 and Progress in Global Education: Commentary

Between February and July 2020, more than 90 percent of school-going children around the world were affected by school closures. Across settings, the crisis is intersecting with entrenched inequities, and COVID-19 related closures and economic instability pose a threat to areas where there has been important, but uneven progress, such as improvements in primary school enrollment and attainment for girls and the narrowing of gender disparities.   

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Council Commentary

Statement of Solidarity

All of us at the Population Council are outraged and saddened by the recent incidents of racial violence, police violence, and racism toward Black Americans. As a research organization committed to generating and using evidence to improve the lives of the most marginalized populations around the world, we condemn racism and oppression in all of its forms. We commit to being an active agent of positive change – to understand and challenge the injustices faced by oppressed communities in the United States and around the world, and to generating critical evidence to expose the social and economic inequalities of marginalized communities.   

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Council Commentary

Informing the Global COVID-19 Response

At the Population Council, we believe that well-designed research is the foundation to solving health and development challenges.  We are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by taking the tools and strategies we have used to address other global health areas and are rapidly deploying them to address this crisis.

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