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Global Health Institute Director Named Among First Rockefeller Foundation Fellows


For almost 20 years, Dr. Peter Small has built his career on advocacy, innovation and stewardship for the poorest of the poor.

Peter Small
GHI director Peter Small

He combines the latest research with cutting-edge technology to help struggling populations around the world fight back against tuberculosis, which killed 10.4 million people in 2016. And while he’s received plenty of accolades for his work, Small’s most recent achievement is proof that hard work literally pays off.

The founding director of Stony Brook’s Global Health Institute (GHI) and Jim and Robin Herrnstein Chair was recently recognized for his commitment to the organization and its ongoing development of innovative technology. Small was one of just seven researchers from various disciplines to be named to the inaugural class of Rockefeller Fellows in January.

“My fellowship aligns perfectly with everything I’ve been doing and learning here at Stony Brook,” said Small, who will receive financial support through the fellowship that will help him continue fulfilling the bold and far-reaching mission of the Institute. ”It’s an incredible honor to be associated with the Rockefeller Foundation. I’m fully committed to their vision of promoting the wellbeing of humanity throughout the world. But it’s also humbling to be part of an organization that for more than 100 years has worked to improve health. They’ve had a transformational impact on lives, and they actually created the field of public health. It’s really a phenomenal place.”

Dr. Peter Small, right, talks about the work of his Global Health Institute during a taping of ABC’s “Nightline” in Ranomafana, Madagascar.

Nearly three years ago, Jim and Robin Herrnstein made a generous donation to Stony Brook University to support the establishment of the GHI: Centre ValBio in Madagascar. With additional gifts from the Simons Foundation and friends of Stony Brook University Stephen and Vincent Della Pietra, GHI has made incredible strides toward connecting local villagers to badly-needed healthcare.

One of its current projects involves using drones to deliver testing supplies and medication to populations fighting tuberculosis in remote Malagasy villages.

Small, a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology, joined the Stony Brook University faculty in August 2015. Prior to his arrival, he spent 13 years working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation developing their tuberculosis strategy.

Small and the other Rockefeller Fellows will receive two years of support for an independent project that fits the foundation’s goals and seeks to better the lives of others and the world. The Fellows will also share their expertise with the foundation’s partners and peer institutions and connect with one another through occasional activities and dialogue.

“With their notable accomplishments and commitment to improving the lives of poor and vulnerable around the world, The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support this cohort of Rockefeller Foundation Fellows,” said Rajiv Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “We are incredibly inspired by this stellar group of Fellows, and look forward to the tremendous impact we will be able to have together as we collectively strive to promote the well-being of humanity in the 21st century.”

Small has published more than 150 articles and was a recipient of the Princess Chichibu Global TB Award.

“In the next few years, digital systems will be widespread, even in the poorest of countries. But without special attention, that revolution will exclude healthcare provision for the world’s poorest,” Small explained.

— Melissa Arnold

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