On Monday, October 30, 2023, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi received the first-ever Bay Area Global Health Alliance Leadership Award for her unwavering HIV/AIDS response leadership and contributions to advancing global health and equity throughout her career.
The event was co-hosted by the Bay Area Global Health Alliance with Alliance members University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Public Health Institute and Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, as well as the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
“From your first speech in Congress in 1987, you have been leading the charge to address the AIDS crisis – with San Francisco’s early model of community-based care and partnership as a foundation,” said Colin Boyle, Alliance Board Chair and lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. “Problems in global health are hard to solve. They require many different types of expertise, and bringing people together across sectors is challenging. There are many barriers to collaboration. But when different sectors bring together their complementary skills, amazing things are possible,” continued Boyle.
PEPFAR, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, stands as a prime example and is one of the hallmarks of Pelosi’s leadership and commitment to global health. Bold and sustained government funding commitments were paired with innovation and large-scale production from the private sector, implemented in programs managed and adapted with the active support and input of nonprofits and universities, and all done in partnership with local health systems and communities.
“Putting such a program [PEPFAR] together requires courageous leadership,” continued Boyle. “True leadership also knows that the greater good comes first. This is the story of PEPFAR, an initiative proposed by a Republican president that needed Democratic support to succeed. And because the greater good demanded it, Representative Pelosi, as the newly installed Democratic leader in the House of Representatives, stepped forward to provide the necessary leadership — in 2003 and again for the subsequent reauthorizations.”
“That’s what it takes to save 25 million lives. Your leadership, guided by the compassion to save lives, has made all the difference,” stated Boyle.
“We also appreciate all you have done for women leaders, healthcare, and health equity,” said Alliance Board Chair Emerita and Public Health Institute CEO, Mary Pittman. Pittman acknowledged that successful public health efforts should always include individuals who are most impacted, and commended Pelosi for her commitment to communities when leading the charge to address the HIV/AIDS crisis.
UCSF praised her work fighting early in her career to create the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program to provide assistance for low-income people with AIDS, and increasing funding for HIV prevention, care, treatment, and research throughout her career. PEPFAR and the Ryan White CARE Act, largest federally funded HIV/AIDS program in the U.S., were noted as prime examples of her legislative leadership.
“Madame Speaker Emerita, on behalf of the Bay Area Global Health Alliance, Friends of the Global Fight, the Public Health Institute, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and UCSF, it is our honor to present to you the first Bay Area Global Health Award for your outstanding leadership in global health, which has saved millions of lives around the world and here at home,” concluded Boyle.