Newsletter 1_2010_Text 1_Why a World Health Summit?

Berlin, May 12, 2010

World Health Summit 2010 Newsletter No. 1

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are happy to present the first newsletter of the World Health Summit 2010. From now on, the newsletter will be published every month. The newsletter will provide you with the latest World Health Summit news and give you background information on the activities and people who are part of the summit and the M8 Alliance.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Berlin at the World Health Summit 2010.

World Health Summit Secreteriat

Why a World Health Summit?

Never in human history have we been as close to realizing the aim of universal health and wellbeing through scientific progress and medical innovation. Political commitment and economic investment are crucial for breaking through to this target. New challenges, such as climate change, the financial crisis and shifting demographics complicate the discussion. Policymakers, civil society, business leaders and the academic medical community must take the lead and make a united front in order to place the urgent topic of global public health and coordinated action on the political agenda.

The Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, in partnership with the "M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers and Medical Universities", has seized the opportunity and is prepared to meet the challenge: Under the patronage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the Charité is organizing the World Health Summit. We are convinced that the health care challenges our modern global society is facing need to be addressed in global and multi-disciplinary fashion.

After the great success of the first World Health Summit in 2009, the 2010 summit will make leaders from academia, health care industry, governments and civil society reach across their disciplinary borders to jointly develop strategic visions for medical research and global health care and thus help to shape the worldwide social and political agenda accordingly.

Registration is now open on the summit website. Please click here to access online registration directly. 


Newsletter 1_2010_Text 2 Welcome Message Kofi Annan

Welcome Message from Kofi Annan 

Public understanding of the causes of disease and sickness as well as the ability to address them has increased dramatically in my lifetime, but the health problems which remain are significant and come in many forms. 

They include the rapid spread of pandemics, the prevalence of scourges like HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis, but also the ever-widening gap in access to health services and opportunities, and as a direct result, in life expectancy between rich and poor. 

All these are problems for each and every one of us, regardless of where we live, what we do or how healthy we may feel at the moment. We now live in a world where the outbreak of disease in a distant region is of direct and immediate relevance to our own well-being; where progress in less-developed countries and regions is to everyone’s economic benefit; and where ensuring that everyone gains from globalization and the many remarkable advances of medicine is of crucial importance to global long-term security.

Our responses to health challenges are thus best coordinated at the global level, including through meetings such as this 2nd World Health Summit. Coming from around the globe and many different sectors, you represent an enormous repository of knowledge and experience. In meeting and talking to each other, you have the unique chance to think big and act big. I wish you all the necessary courage and vision to do so and look forward to seeing the results.




Picture Annan

Newsletter 1_2010_Text 3 Portrait of the Summit President, Professor Dr. Stephen K. Smith

Portrait of the Summit President,
Professor Dr. Stephen K. Smith  

“Health remains our strongest currency we share around the globe and across borders. It is also the most vulnerable value and needs protection and improvement”says Stephen K. Smith, Co-President of the World Health Summit 2010.

Professor Stephen Smith, DSc, and FMedSci, is the Principal of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, and also the Chief Executive of the Imperial College Healthcare Trust, one of the largest NHS trusts in the United Kingdom and the first Academic Health Science Centre. 

He is a founding member of the M8 Alliance, a group of the world’s leading Academic Health Centers and Medical Universities dealing with scientific, political, and economic aspects of medicine and public health. The M8 Alliance unites stakeholders from politics and industry at the national, European, and international level. The M8 is the backbone of the World Health Summit.

A gynecologist by training, Professor Smith has published over 225 papers on reproductive medicine and cancer. In addition to his clinical work, he has been elected a Fellow of the Institute of Biology, the Academy of Medical Science, the New York Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of Arts.

He has been at the forefront of the development of the UK’s first Global Medical Excellence Cluster for London and South England and is the current Chair of London Genetics.

Professor Smith provides advice to and serves on numerous committees for a number of organizations including the Medical Research Council, the World Health Organization, the National Institute of Health (USA), the NHS, and many more.

Picture Smith

Newsletter 1_2010_Text 4_The World Health Summit and Pfizer Award for Innovation in Biomedical Research

The World Health Summit and Pfizer Award for Innovation in Biomedical Research  

The World Health Summit and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer have launched a new annual, international award in order to support innovation in biomedical research. The “World Health Summit and Pfizer Award for Innovation in Biomedical Research” comes with a 75,000 Euro purse and honors innovative research projects of young scientists that address global medical challenges. The award encourages and honors the development of highly innovative biomedical treatments and their clinical translation into human health. Following a central topic of the summit, this year’s award focuses on “Medicine in Transition – Novel Applications of Personalized Medicine in Chronic Diseases”.

For details and applications please refer to the summit website:

ewsletter 1_2010 Text 6_The Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin: Why we Support the M8 Alliance and the World Health Summit

The Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Why we Support the M8 Alliance and the World Health Summit

In 2010, the Charité celebrates its 300 Year Anniversary. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the German Reunification, the medical faculties of the Freie Universität Berlin (Free University, (in) West Berlin) and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Humboldt University, (in) East Berlin), have merged under the traditional name of Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Charity University Hospital Berlin). 

With 3,500 hospital beds, 15,000 employees, 8,000 medical students on four campuses, and a budget of 1 billion Euro, the Charité is the largest medical school in Germany with a great tradition in research, teaching and patient care. 

Among the many outstanding scientists and Nobel Laureates of the Charité, Robert Koch, Emil von Behring, and Paul Ehrlich stand out in leading the fight against infectious diseases. Rudolf Virchow developed the concept of cellular pathology and cell biology and was one of the first to recognize the importance of public health. Virchow also saw the necessity that academia and all groups of society and politics join forces to improve global health as the most fundamental and precious human right.

It is in this spirit that the Charité is celebrating its 300 Year Anniversary: “We are conscious of our history and tradition and we want to take responsibility for the future that exceeds our personal and institutional interests. We are aware that we will be successful only if we join forces with the best partners around the globe. The M8 Alliance and the World Health Summit are a good start. Everybody is invited to join in.” Detlev Ganten, President of the World Health Summit, Chairman of the Foundation Board, Charité Foundation

Newsletter 1_2010_Text 5_M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers and Medical Universities


M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers and Medical Universities

Academic Medicine Must Take Responsibility for Global Health

The M8 Alliance and high-ranking government representatives define targets for the 2nd World Health Summit in October 2010. 

“Medicine and health care will change radically in the next 20 years. Considering this development, doctors and scientists need to feel responsible for placing economical and ethical aspects of public health on the political agenda”, said Professor Dr. Detlev Ganten, President of the World Health Summit and Chairman of the Board of the Charité Foundation. He was suggesting a basic reconsideration of international health systems and the practical side of public health.

In October 2009, the M8 Alliance and the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin had hosted the first World Health Summit with great success and positive response. From April 12 to 14, 2010, the protagonists reconvened at the Charité Berlin to prepare the second World Health Summit. 

Professor Dr. Stephen K. Smith, Chief Executive of the Healthcare NHS Trust, Principal of the Faculty of Medicine of Imperial College London and Co-President of this year’s World Health Summit, emphasized the importance of a close co-operation between politics, economy, civil society and academic medicine. His feeling is that only then can we achieve equitable access to health care in low-income countries. 

Ambassadors of all M8 states gathered to discuss means of closer co-operation. Representatives of all governments emphasized that health is of growing relevance to the areas of politics, society and economy in their particular countries. Accordingly, a close collaboration of academic health science and politics is not only desirable but urgent and necessary in order to be well prepared for the future. Medical research and health supply are important economic factors with enormous growth potential. The provision of medicine and health care is one of the most important criteria for the level of satisfaction of a society.    

“Modern academic health centers are essential not only from a medical point of view, but also for society as a whole”, says Victor Dzau, representative of the US-American Duke University and the Davos World Economic Panel for Health. “Academic medicine is a driving force for innovation, which means new therapies, new treatment methods, and hope. Thus, academic medicine creates an economic value and, at the same time, has an essential social function.” 

The representatives and ambassadors of the M8 countries agreed to the conviction that global health is one of the biggest challenges of the future. Governments need to learn from academic medicine in order to achieve a transnational health policy. Demographic transition is simply further evidence for the necessity of a roadmap. Low-income countries can learn from the mistakes that have already been made by industrial nations.

Hot topics of the future, such as health and climate change, health supply in rural areas or health care in huge metropolises will be discussed by physicians, politicians, scientists, as well as by representatives of civil society and industry during the World Health Summit in October 10-13 in Berlin.  

“Prevention is the future of medicine” and “the transition from the present state of health supply of the population to a real health system” were the two central “take home” messages Prof. Dr. Ganten issued at the M8 Alliance Meeting in Berlin.

Click here to access the photo gallery of the M8 Meeting in Berlin.  

M8 Member Overview

M8 Member Overview



M8 Member Overview

M8 Member Overview