Registrations have closed
World Health Day 2024 Global Health Forum: Faith In Practice, Medical Bridges, & World Affairs Council of Greater Houston

World Health Day 2024 Global Health Forum: Faith In Practice, Medical Bridges, & World Affairs Council of Greater Houston

April 4, 2024 @ 07:00 PM to April 4, 2024 @ - 08:30 PM
831 831 people viewed this event.

The world is on fire. Conflicts seem everywhere and the economies in developing countries are not expected to return to 2019 levels until later this year. Yet the need for medical care has expanded devastating already struggling healthcare systems. People in countries in crisis and in impoverished communities are seriously injured, staying sick longer, and dying needlessly without equipment or medical care.

In recognition of World Health Day, on April 4th an expert panel will discuss global health, the problems and the opportunities. A nationally recognized healthcare leader and local global health practitioners will describe the desperation in so many places. They will describe the tragic healthcare circumstances in other parts of the world, the role of medical relief, the experience directly from medical missionaries, the role of the United States, why it matters to us, and the ethics and integrity needed to support global health.

A joint session of the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston, Faith In Practice, and Medical Bridges, with distinguished physicians as panelists Ambassador Deborah Birx, Colonel John Holcomb, and noted OB/GYN Mary Neal. With the welcome by Faith In Practice President and CEO, Michelle Bair PhD, introduction of the panel by World Affairs Council Chief Executive Officer, Maryanne Maldonado, and moderation by Medical Bridges CEO and President, Walter Ulrich, this is sure to be a stimulating and informative session on the state of global health today and how you and Houstonians can help relieve the suffering.


Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D.

Deborah L. Birx, M.D., spent her first career serving the United States, as an Army Colonel and later, running some of the most high-profile and influential programs at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of State as a civil servant. Dr. Birx is a world-renowned medical expert and leader whose long career has focused on clinical and basic immunology, infectious disease, pandemic preparedness, vaccine research, and global health. Dr. Birx served as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator using complex data set integration to drive decision-making and working closely with state officials across the country to provide state-specific advice and guidance.

In 1985, Dr. Birx began her professional career with the Department of Defense (DoD) as a military trained clinician in immunology (1980-1985), focusing on viral infections and HIV/AIDS vaccine research. Through her professionalism and leadership in the field, she progressed to serve as the Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research from 1996-2005. Then known as Colonel Birx, she was awarded two prestigious U.S. Meritorious Service Medals and the Legion of Merit Award for her groundbreaking research, leadership, and management skills during her tenure at the DoD.

From 2005-2014, Dr. Birx served successfully as the Director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA) in the CDC Center for Global Health. In 2014, CDC honored her leadership in advancing the agency’s HIV/AIDS response with the highly prestigious William C. Watson, Jr. Medal of Excellence. In 2014, Dr. Birx became an Ambassador-at-Large appointed by President Obama as the Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy.

Dr. Birx has published over 230 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, authored nearly a dozen chapters in scientific publications, as well as developed and patented vaccines. She received her medical degree from the Hershey School of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, and beginning in 1980-1985 she trained in internal medicine and basic and clinical immunology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Birx is board certified in internal medicine, allergy and immunology, and diagnostic and clinical laboratory immunology.

Colonel John Bradley Holcomb, M.D

John Bradley Holcomb received his M.D. from the University of Arkansas Medical School in 1985. Dr. Holcomb entered the U.S. Army in 1985, and completed his general surgery training in 1991. Dr Holcomb then deployed with the Joint Special Operations Command for the next decade. He led one of the first Military Civilian Partnerships at Ben Taub from 1999-2001. From 2002 to 2008, COL Holcomb was the Commander of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research and Trauma Consultant for the Army Surgeon General. Over the years he has multiple combat deployments. He is a three time recipient of the Army’s Greatest Invention award, the ‘A” Designator in Military Medicine, the Order of Military Medical Merit and the Department of the Army Research and Development Achievement Award for Leadership Excellence. COL Holcomb retired from active duty in 2008 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Trauma Resuscitation Science from the American Heart Association, the United States Special Operations Command Medal, and the Service award from the American College of Surgery. He has been a member of the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care since 2001. From 2008-2019 Dr. Holcomb worked at UT Health, Houston, as a Professor of Surgery. In 2016 he received the MAJ Jonathan Letterman award from the National Museum of Civil War Medicineand in 2022 the Robert Danis Prize from the International Surgical Society. In 2019 Dr Holcomb joined the University of Alabama, Birmingham as a Professor of Surgery. Recently he has gone to Ukraine 4 times over the last 2 years, translating knowledge gained on the battlefield to our Ukrainian colleagues. Dr. Holcomb is actively involved in clinical medicine, education, research, entrepreneurship and is a founder of a health IT company (Decisio Health). He reviews papers for 44 journals, has published > 700 peer reviewed articles, consults with several companies and serves on multiple boards. Dr. Holcomb and his wife, Dr. Kelly Wirfel were married in 1998 and have 2 children.

Noted OB/GYN Mary Neal, M.D.

Noted OB/GYN Mary T. Neal, MD is an obstetrician-gynecologist who has transitioned from private practice to nonprofit medicine, serving as a part-time volunteer gynecologist at San Jose Clinic in Houston. She and husband, Ron, an LSU alumnus, live in Bellaire, Texas. Dr. Neal has a bachelor’s degree in zoology from LSU (1975) and an M.D. from the LSU School of Medicine-New Orleans (1979). She is the chair of the College of Science’s Advisory Board and was inducted into the college’s Hall of Distinction in 2012. The Neals have hosted countless LSU gatherings in Houston, including an annual student recruiting event at their home. She is an active board member with Medical Bridges, a regional nonprofit that recovers medical surplus and redistributes it to hospitals, clinics and healthcare providers in less fortunate countries.




Walter Ulrich

Walter Ulrich is President & CEO of Medical Bridges, a leader in global health equity and a lifechanging and lifesaving nonprofit serving the global poor by providing needed medical supplies and equipment to clinics and hospitals. In the last 24 months, Medical Bridges prepared, staged, and shipped nearly 500 tons of desperately needed medical supplies and equipment valued at more than $22 million to Ukraine, Gaza, Afghanistan, and developing countries in the Americas, Africa, and Asiawhile also providing PPE to support rural clinics and charitable hospitals in Texas. Medical Bridges was named the Astros Foundation Chairity of the Year for 2022.

Walter is a member of the Texas Advisory Committee of the bipartisan US Global Leadership Coalitionand is also a member of the Houston Sports Philanthropy Network Leadership team. He was recently awarded the Order of Merit by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for extensive medical relief to the people of Ukraine. Sigma, the international nursing honor society, awarded him its Archon “First to Lead” award at its international biennial event with participants from 40 countries.

He was recognized in 2023 as a Global Leader of Influence by the World Affairs Council at the 25thanniversary Jesse H Jones Luncheon and was honored with the Global Impact award at the HITDC 2022 G7 Annual gala. He served as one of 17 founding members of the Governor’s Texas Emerging Technology Fund Committee. Previously he was awarded the prestigious NASA Silver Achievement Medal, and in 2013 the Texas Black Expo bestowed to him their Community Builder Award.

A graduate and former Trustee of Stevens Institute of Technology, Mr. Ulrich proudly served his country in the US Marine Corps. He lives in Pearland with his wife Beth, an author and nurse educator.\

Dr. Tadia Diallo

Dr. Tadia Diallo is the Global Health Manager for Medical Bridges and oversees the strategic partnerships and distribution of healthcare resources across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.  And In the last 24 months, Medical Bridges shipped nearly 500 tons of medical supplies and equipment to Ukraine, Gaza, Afghanistan, and developing countries in the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Presented by 


Ticket Information

Admission • 04.04.2024
Not a member with us? Click here to become a member starting at $119. 
Students/Educators • 04.04.2024
MUST register with SCHOOL email

Date And Time

April 4, 2024 @ 07:00 PM to April 4, 2024 @ - 08:30 PM


TMC Innovation 2450 Holcombe Blvd. Houston, TX 77021

Event Types


Event Category

Share With Friends