July 04, 2012

Voices of Global Health - Stewart Parker, IDRI

In this guest post, Stewart Parker, CEO of the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), discusses working in Washington State’s global health community. IDRI, a GHTC member, conducts research and development for products to prevent, detect, and treat infectious diseases of poverty. This post originally appeared on the Washington Global Health Alliance’s Voices of Global Health blog to mark Global Health Month.

Stewart Parker is CEO of the Infectious Disease Research Institute

What sparked your interest in global health?

I’ve always loved being in biotech for the opportunity to both do good and do well. Global health is the ultimate step for me; I get to spend every day of the week helping to solve seemingly intractable disease problems! What could be better than that?

What three words would you use to describe Washington State’s global health community?


What do you think is the best way for individuals to contribute to Washington’s global health work?

First, educate yourself. Global health problems affect all of us, so don’t be an ostrich! Second, do a little research and find an organization that you like…and support it. There are lots of volunteer opportunities, in addition to donating money. Third, spread the word. If you learn about a project or an organization that you like, help be an ambassador for that effort.

What is the greatest joy in your work?

The people. Working with smart people, meeting our partners in countries affected by neglected disease, and meeting people who are benefiting from our products.

What is the greatest challenge in your work?

I always want progress to occur faster than it does! Developing vaccines is a difficult challenge, and it takes time to do studies that are rigorous and support the movement of the vaccine product through the clinical trial process. I always want to do things with the highest standards, and we always will. But the timelines are sometimes frustrating.

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