About the Pacific Health Summit

Mission, Presenting Organizations, Sponsors, Supporters, and Origins

“Why do I come to the Pacific Health Summit? I connect with people I would otherwise not meet. It allows us to put all our needs on the table, identifying solutions together. The setting is more intimate, enabling more profound friendships and partnerships to take root. The kind of peer pressure one experiences at the Summit helps everybody evolve.”

M.K. Bhan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Ministry of Science & Technology

Mission and Goal

Since its inception in 2005, the Summit mission was to connect science, industry, and policy for a healthier world. By fostering substantive, cross-sector communication, the Secretariat sought to catalyze strategic alliances that will produce long-term results and partnerships.

Through formal and informal discussions, our goal was to:

  • Assemble a strategic mix of high-level individuals in an outcome-oriented, friendly setting, to form new, integrated alliances.
  • Provide new insights on and acknowledge the practical realities surrounding critical global health challenges that help strengthen our partners’ work and strategic direction.
  • Engage the business sector as a full partner, putting to use its valuable know-how and innovation.
  • Create a foundation for substantive, long-term, personal communication and collaboration.

The main work of the Summit was an annual meeting that convened top decision-makers to discuss how to realize the dream of a healthier future through the effective utilization of scientific advances, combined with industrial innovation and appropriate policies.

Presenting Organizations

The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust were co-presenting organizations from the inception of the Summit through the final meeting in 2012.

National Bureau of Asian Research, Fred Hutch, Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust

Sponsors and Supporting Organizations

A multi-year dialogue as ambitious as the Pacific Health Summit could not have been successful without the support of forward-thinking organizations, foundations, and individuals. Our sponsors and supporting organizations played a vital role in creating this historic opportunity—to bridge borders, traverse new policies, stem disease, and save lives—full partners on an expedition to scale the heights of disease detection and prevention. The Summit is grateful for their financial support and partnership.

Leadership and Financial Support

The Pacific Health Summit would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous leadership and financial support for one or more of the annual Summit meetings.



The Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness

The Boeing Company

Center for Sustainable Health, Arizona State University

Chevron Corporation

The Coca-Cola Company

Department of Health, United Kingdom

Duke Medicine

Economic & Social Research Council



GE Healthcare



Johnson & Johnson

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Medical Research Council


Medtronic Foundation

Merck & Co., Inc.

Microsoft Corporation

Miraca Holdings Inc.

The National Cancer Institute

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.


Pfizer Inc.



Sanofi Pasteur

Swedish Medical Center

Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

University of Washington Department of Global Health


Virginia Mason Medical Center

We Work for Global Health

Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects

Advice, Partnership, and Critical Support

The Pacific Health Summit would like to thank the following sponsors for their advice, partnership, and critical support for one or more of the annual Summit meetings.

Beckton Dickinson and Company

Decade of Vaccines Collaboration


Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosic and Malaria

The History of Vaccines



John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Lilly, USA, LLC

March of Dimes

Microsoft Corporation

The National Cancer Institute


RESULTS Educational Fund

Save the Children

Stop TB Partnerhsip

The Rockefeller Foundation

Virginia Mason Medical Center

Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association

Washington Global Health Alliance

The World Bank Group

Summit Vision

The vision for the Pacific Health Summit originated from observations that technological advancements in Asia and the Pacific region could transform healthcare from a reactive model to a preventive one. The Summit subsequently grew to address the effects of health challenges in regions across the globe, focusing worldwide on innovation and opportunities. By convening leaders from diverse locales, the Summit’s name became synonymous with utilizing global forces for a healthier future.
Our logo expresses the timelessness of the human hope for better health. The character chosen to represent the Pacific Health Summit, pronounced sheng in Chinese and ikiru in Japanese, means “life” or “to live.” The character combines easily with other characters to build hopeful and strong compounds; similarly, the Summit co-presenting organizations, too, envisioned that the Pacific Health Summit would become a cornerstone upon which to build partnerships and collaborations.

Origins of the Pacific Health Summit

In early 2004, Lee Hartwell, then President of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, George F. Russell, Jr., then Chairman of the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR), William H. Gates, Sr., Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Michael Birt, then Director of NBR’s Center for Health and Aging, sketched out a vision for how emerging science and technology could link with global health policy to transform healthcare. They brainstormed on the need to prevent, detect, and treat illness early enough to drastically reduce the human and financial cost of disease, an intensely personal issue for each of them. Recognizing the lack of a forum that could truly bring all stakeholders, especially industry, to the same table, and believing strongly in conversation and direct dialogue as true catalysts for action, they conceived the initial plan to organize the Pacific Health Summit.

With that vision in mind, George Russell and Bill Gates, Sr., took on the combined role of co-chairs of the Summit’s advisory group and provided the seed funding for the Summit. Michael Birt became the Executive Director of the Summit at NBR. In 2012, he handed the mantle to Claire Topal, Summit’s Managing Director, who ran the Summit and managed that team from 2009 to 2012. She now serves as Senior Advisor for International Health to NBR.

Building on Bill Gates Sr.’s strong personal support, in 2007 Tachi Yamada, then President of Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, took on a decisive leadership role and formally established the Foundation as the Summit’s third co-presenting organization.

In 2008, the Wellcome Trust joined the Summit as the fourth official co-presenting organization, and Trust Director, Sir Mark Walport, joined our Executive Committee. Both Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust, who has participated in the Summit since its first year, and Sir Mark provided crucial leadership as the Summit began its rotation in London for the annual meeting.

Lastly, Peter Neupert, then Corporate Vice President for Health Solutions Strategy for Microsoft, and Craig Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer of Microsoft, consistently provided a welcome private sector voice to the Summit’s strategic discussions. Additionally, GE Healthcare, through Bill Castell in 2005, provided critical advice and perspective, as well as the critical founding sponsorship for the annual meeting.

Out of this initial foundation of leadership, the Summit grew into one of the world’s premier global health gatherings every year.

In 2012, after the Summit’s second run in London, the leadership made a decision to end the annual meeting component of the Summit process.

Eight years after our inaugural meeting, which was never designed to take place in perpetuity, global health was in an exciting new place. Our interactive format has proliferated, and decision-makers across all sectors and geographies are collaborating on all the critical global health issues we sought to address: health technology, pandemic flu, MDR-TB, vaccines, malnutrition, maternal and newborn health, and many more. While we are proud of eight years of transformational conversations, countless new friendships, and exciting partnerships, there is still much work to do—and so much momentum on which to build.

This process means a great deal to us, and NBR continues to explore how best to build on the Summit’s legacy through targeted, substantive programming that builds on Summit outcomes and past themes.

More about the Pacific Health Summit

Learn more and read reports from the Summit’s critical conversation.