Monday, May 25, 2009

All a-Twitter

Dr. Gwatidzo, Jonathan Mann Award recipient, having just arrived from Zimbabwe.

The Omni Shoreham Hotel is abuzz with excitement as the the Global Health Council's 36th Annual Conference gets underway. With tote bags stuffed and registration packets at the ready, the Council's board and staff are looking forward to welcoming some 2,000 participants to this yearly event.

This year's conference, which highlights technology, also introduces a few new techological features to the conference. For example, the presenter abstracts are now available on CD. We are also integrating social media, which, in most cases, can be accessed through mobile devices. Find us on Facebook, post your photos to our Flickr pool, and keep tabs on Twitter. In fact, Twitter is already atwitter (pun intended) with plans for the #GHC36 (also known as conference) @GlobalHealthorg. IntraHealth's team, in particular, has been really active about preparations for their various events - all of which sound very exciting. Tomorrow, we launch the blogosphere on, which highlights our official conference bloggers.

Our day began at 5:30 this morning with an early morning cab ride to the airport with Dawn Carey, awards coordinator, to meet Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) and 2009 recipient of the Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights. Though he had just emerged from a 24-hour journey from Harare, Dr. Gwatidzo showed no sign of weariness and was eager to discuss Zimbabwe with us - the hospital with no running water, the state of the medical community, the positive signs that are slowly emerging, using soccer as a bridge between people... But wait until the awards banquet, where he is sure to wow us all with his speech. He is quite eloquent.

Dr. Gwatidzo discussing Zimbabwe in the cab.
If you don't have a banquet ticket yet, there are still tickets available at the registration desk. If you have a ticket already, make sure and stop by Will Call (where I'll be stationed for most of the day) to pick a seat. Today is, perhaps, the best day to pick-up your registration materials so you can spend the rest of the evening pouring through the final program and posting the sessions you think are interesting on Twitter.

NOTE: Over breakfast, we got word that Dr. Binayak Sen, the imprisoned 2008 Jonathan Mann Award winner, was granted bail by the Supreme Court of India.

- Tina Flores