Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Dr. Mark Rosenberg - Real Collaboration

Guest Lecture from President & CEO of The Task Force for Global Health

"Collaborative partnerships have the best chance for success when members lay the foundation in the first mile for the last mile success and take mutual responsibility along the journey for leadership, management, and culture within the partnership."

Dr Mark Rosenberg MD MPP, author of Real Collaboration, guest lectured our "Making Change through Policy" course and focused on the art of collaboration. The Task Force for Global Health works with private and public sector partners to address health issues for the most vulnerable populations. Among many things, the task force currently leads the Global Polio Eradication initiative and is credited for creating "Pharmaco-Philanthropy". There were three take aways from Dr Rosenberg's lecture that can be summarized as one story, one line, and one list.

The Story
Dr. Bill Foege MD MPH, the epidemiologist who designed the global intervention strategy to eradicate smallpox, was the first head of the task force. In 1987, Merck approached Foege about donating Mectizan, a drug whose off label use reduces morbidity and transmission of river blindness. Mectizan is better known to animal lovers as Heartguard - a common medication for dogs. Merck was making enough profits on animal sales to donate large quantities for off label use. Coalition leaders fearing the partnership and backlash of working with the pharmaceutical companies advised Foege to not accept the offer. True to what I've come to learn about Dr. Bill Foege, he did it anyway; establishing what is called "Pharmaco-Philantropy". Twenty-five years later the program is responsible for treating millions and its continued efforts have made eradicating river blindness a feasible end goal.

The Line
"Collaborations are like marriages. Easy to get into and hard to make work"

The List - "The Initial Barriers: Seven Cs"

1. Culture – corporate, religion, location
2. Conflicting Goals – need to settle on the goal, a very clear goal
3. Confusion – about roles and responsibility
4. Control – no one wants to give it up (personal and organizational)
5. Capabilities – everyone has different skills, strengths and resources
6. Competition - who is going to get the credit, who is the biggest
7. Costs – people don’t factor in the costs (money and time)

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