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Dr. Rajeev Venkayya Joins Gates Foundation as Director of Global Health Delivery

Will oversee efforts to expand access to effective health solutions in

developing countries

SEATTLE, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today that Dr. Rajeev Venkayya has joined the Global Health Program as director of Global Health Delivery. Dr. Venkayya is a medical doctor and former coordinator of U.S. government medical and public health efforts, including preparations for a potential influenza pandemic.

Dr. Venkayya will oversee the Gates Foundation's efforts to help expand the availability of, and access to, effective vaccines, drugs, and other health solutions in the developing world. He will also lead efforts to prepare for delivery of future health solutions.

"A number of important health interventions currently in late-stage development could be on the market in the next several years. We want to ensure that these life-saving solutions reach those who need them most," said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the foundation's Global Health Program. "Rajeev brings a wealth of experience as both a physician and senior health policy strategist, and we're fortunate to have him heading our efforts in this area."

The foundation's Global Health Delivery team coordinates late-stage development of foundation-funded health technologies and interventions through clinical trials and regulatory approval. The Delivery team also identifies ways to ensure adequate financing to purchase vaccines and drugs, strengthen health supply and distribution systems, address shortages of health workers, and increase public awareness about health.

"Every year, millions of people in poor countries die from preventable causes because they do not receive basic health services taken for granted in rich countries," Dr. Venkayya said. "I look forward to working with the foundation's grantees and partners to address this critical challenge."

Global Health Delivery is one of five teams in the foundation's Global Health Program. The others are Global Health Discovery, Infectious Diseases Development, Integrated Health Solutions Development, and Global Health Policy and Advocacy.

Dr. Venkayya joins the foundation from the U.S. government, where he served most recently as special assistant to the President and senior director for biodefense on the White House Homeland Security Council. In that position, one of his key responsibilities was the development of the U.S. strategy for pandemic influenza, including the implementation plan for the strategy.

Dr. Venkayya has also served as an advisor to the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was one of 13 non-partisan White House Fellows appointed by President Bush in 2002.

He is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Previously, he was co-director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit and director of the High-Risk Asthma Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital.

Dr. Venkayya holds a medical degree from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health, and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people, especially those with the fewest resources, have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

SOURCE Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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