Press Releases

Population Council Honors Global Health Leaders with Inaugural Ideas with Impact Awards

Awardees Include Bayer HealthCare, Adolescent Girls Learning Circle, and Outgoing Council President Peter Donaldson

The Population Council honored global leaders in international health and development at the first Ideas with Impact Awards ceremony in New York City on Monday night. Photos from the event are available at http://on.fb.me/1zvDUHP.

The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, the Council delivers solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world.

Honorees at Monday’s ceremony included Bayer HealthCare, the Adolescent Girls Learning Circle, and outgoing Population Council president Peter Donaldson. The event raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Council research and programs.

Also during the ceremony, the Council launched the Peter J. Donaldson Fund, which will provide professional development opportunities for developing-country researchers who will become future leaders on population, health, and development issues.

Bayer HealthCare received an award for its efforts to expand access to modern contraception to women worldwide, regardless of income. The Jadelle Access Program, launched by Bayer and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013, provides access to the Population Council-developed Jadelle contraceptive implant to over 27 million women in more than 50 developing countries. Bayer also works with the Council through two foundations to provide intrauterine contraception at no cost to low-income women in the United States and in the global south.

“As a global leader in hormonal contraception, we have been committed to supporting family planning for 50 years,” said Dieter Weinand, member of the Bayer HealthCare Executive Committee and head of the Pharmaceuticals Division. “I am very honored to accept this award today as a recognition for this engagement.”

The Adolescent Girls Learning Circle is a community of more than 280 practitioners and advocates from 24 countries that identifies the poorest and most vulnerable girls in developing countries—those at the greatest risk of the worst outcomes like child marriage, HIV infection, sexual violence, unwanted pregnancy, and social isolation. Learning Circle members design and scale up programs that give the poorest girls critical information, a say in their own lives, and a strong network of support.

Accepting the award on behalf of the Learning Circle were representatives from two groups that helped found the Learning Circle: Chernor Bah, a co-founder of the Salone Adolescent Girls Network in Sierra Leone and of A World at School, an international education organization; and Dr. Satvika Chalasani, who coordinates Action for Adolescent Girls, a multi-country initiative of the United Nations Population Fund that supports evidence-based programs and policies for adolescent girls at risk of child marriage and pregnancy.

“Millions of girls around the world are systematically undervalued, exploited, and denied control of their own bodies and lives,” said Chalasani. “By relentlessly promoting the principle of investing in girls in ways that directly benefit them, the Population Council has had a real impact on innumerable people. Being part of that work has been extremely rewarding for me and many others.”

Peter J. Donaldson was honored for ten years of service as president of the Population Council, and four decades as a leader in global health and development research. Under Donaldson’s leadership, the Council has played a major role in population, health, and development research and policy formulation, and Council biomedical scientists have continued to develop new contraceptives and products aimed at reducing the risk of HIV and AIDS transmission.

“Since I began my career with the Council in 1973, I have been surrounded by public health and social science all-stars,” said Donaldson. “For more than six decades, the Council has changed the way the world thinks about family planning, the rights and health of girls, and the critical importance of building research capacity in developing countries. Tonight, I am reminded again how lucky I am to have been part of such a great organization. From Mexico City to Addis Ababa to New Delhi, Council experts are generating innovative ideas, gathering world-class evidence, and developing and informing policies and programs that have lasting and positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable.”

Donaldson will retire in March 2015, when incoming president Julia Bunting will join the Council. Currently, Bunting is head of the Programmes and Technical Division of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Previously, she directed the British government’s international development policy on HIV and AIDS; maternal, newborn, and child health; sexual and reproductive health and rights; and population at the UK Department for International Development (DFID). While at DFID, Bunting played a key role in organizing the landmark 2012 London Summit on Family Planning.

The Population Council Ideas with Impact Awards were co-chaired by Tammy Allen and Dan Gropper, Darcy Bradbury and Eric Seiler, and Terry Peigh and Cindy Fluxgold. Key sponsors included the Edlow Family, Charles and Jane Klein, Bethany and Robert Millard, Jaime and Lizzie Zobel de Ayala, the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund, and Bayer HealthCare.


About the Population Council

The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees.

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Media contact: Erin Kiernon: ekiernon@popcouncil.org; +1 212 339 0653