2020 End of Year Letter from Dr. Vanessa Kerry

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Dear Friends and Supporters,

2020 has been one of the most extraordinary periods in modern history. Across the globe, the cross currents of the pandemic have exposed and exacerbated long standing health, racial, and economic inequities. In these difficult moments, we are reminded of our shared humanity and the need to break down the exclusive silos in which we are born, live, learn, work, and age.

I am forever an optimist even in the hardest of times. As we feel the crush of 2020 give way to the promise of 2021, there is an opportunity to in fact celebrate this tumultuous year. 2020 has laid bare the stakes we face but also offers us a historic opportunity to examine our lived values. We can be challenged—in the best of ways—to consider what we believe in and how we enact those beliefs. We have to confront—including in global health—the deleterious systems we perpetuate. We can shape a bigger and meaningful conversation about the society we should create so that everyone can thrive. We can value wellbeing, dignity, and true equity for all and we can share the power, voice, and priorities essential to finally close the inequity gaps that have persisted globally for years.

At Seed, we have always been committed to challenging the status quo. COVID-19 has underscored what we know to be true—health is essential and quality care can only be delivered by a robust and well-resourced health workforce. In this time, Seed has continued to lean into the crisis. Together with our partners, we minimized disruptions to education and training and found new ways to strengthen the health workforce in communities where they are needed the most. This was all possible thanks to your generosity.

Health professionals are the backbone of strong health systems. The pandemic has shown all of us their power, resilience, courage, and compassion. As we end the year and look forward to 2021—declared by the WHO as the International Year of the Health and Care Worker—we must turn our appreciation into action. We must prioritize making fundamental investments like those in our health workforce as they are essential to all our ability to respond in crisis as well as to stave off the next one. Whether it’s addressing COVID-19 or long simmering crises of maternal mortality and communicable and noncommunicable diseases that are killing us, both at home and abroad, we cannot nurture progress without this fundamental backbone of our health system—health workers.

As the optimist—but also a realist—I believe collectively we can define a strong legacy of this moment. We can leverage this chaos to reset and be powerful forces for good. We have an opportunity to redesign and create a more just and healthy society by making lasting investments that will span generations.

I look forward to working with you towards this goal. Founded on the challenge of 2020, 2021 is just the beginning.  Here is to renewal, joy, accountability, connection, hope, and health!


Vanessa Kerry, MD, MSc
Co-founder and CEO, Seed Global Health


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