IAED Explores Public–Private Partnerships

United States—Social value Investing provides a new approach to tackling some of the world’s most difficult and intractable problems. Although many of the world's problems seem too great or complex to solve—inequality, affordable housing, health care, food security—solutions can be found by bringing together leaders from the public, private and philanthropic sectors.

On May 20, the International Association for Peace and Economic Development (IAPD) cosponsored with two international organizations an online conference on “Public–Private Partnerships: The Business of Telehealth.” Mr. Roger Wetherall, U.S. coordinator for IAED, eagerly greeted and welcomed the attendees on the Zoom and Facebook broadcasts. Approximately 50 invited guests joined through Zoom to participate in this program, and over 600 later watched it on IAED’s Facebook Channel. Mr. Wetherall was genuinely excited to introduce the illustrious panel in the continuing series on “Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universally Shared Values” sponsored by IAED. He was pleased to introduce the co-sponsors of the conference: Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation and the National U.S.–India Chamber of Commerce.

There were welcoming remarks by Mr. Alan Jessen, North American coordinator for IAED, who reminded everyone of IAED's core fundamental purpose, originating at the 2020 World Summit in Seoul, Korea, of interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universally shared values. Business and economy have a huge role to play in creating an environment for all people to be able to satisfy their wants and needs and create a climate of peace and understanding.

Dr. Purnima Varia, founder and CEO of the National U.S–India Chamber of Commerce, gave a warm greeting attesting to her enjoyment of working together with IAED and UPF. Her accomplishments are well known, but she expressed that all who share the vision and invest in the goals of IAED are “champions of heart.”

Mr. Wetherall introduced the first presenter, Dr. William Eimicke. He is professor of practice at Columbia University’s School of Public and International Affairs and has authored the book Social Value Investing, which looks at different business models founded on principles that promote the betterment of society rather than simply financial profit. His opening remarks pertained to the challenge of the pandemics and lessons from the COVID response. He stated that the government alone cannot provide quality health care for all: Public, private and social sectors must collaborate in order to solve these global challenges. He said that IAED is on the right path pursuing this model.

Dr. Eimicke explained his theory of the “Five Ps” for mutual success in any field, particularly in the field of health care. There must be a Process, People, Place, Portfolio and Performance. His association with Dr. Krishnan Ganapathy and examination of the telehealth system of Apollo in India led to the successes with telehealth in the New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and again in the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department. With the COVID pandemic, there has been a dramatic rise in the use of telehealth services while still maintaining social distancing. In the United States, state and federal bills have been introduced. Much is to be learned from the experience of India from implementing its own telehealth systems over the past 20 years.

Dr. Krishnan Ganapathy—M Ch (Neurosurgery), FACS, FICS, FAMS, and Ph.D.—is the past president of the Telemedicine Society of India and the Neurological Society of India. He has been an early pioneer of telemedicine since 1998. He is a Distinguished Professor at the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR. Medical University and is on the editorial boards of international and national journals in telemedicine and neurosciences.

Dr Ganapathy’s youthful enthusiasm saturated his words on the topic of telehealth. He stated that over 1 million people have received quality high-level medical care since the founding of Apollo Telehealth. Having four times more people than the United States, India needed the telehealth style of health care to give access to all people even in remote areas. Today, they are serving 10,000 people daily. The medical field and health care providers must do some un-learning and realize that one cannot provide adequate health care alone. There must be a network of various specialists available. Training and retraining will be the key for future success. Many disciplines need to collaborate in order to create a functional telehealth system. There are lessons that can be learned from this to apply in many other areas of society. He finished by pointing out that once a new technology rolls along, “if you are not part of the steamroller, you will be part of the road.” We need to use the tools that we are given to build a better future. In these difficult times when the COVID pandemic is in full force in India, telehealth has proved invaluable in helping those in rural areas and those isolated in nursing homes.

In the discussion that followed, the presenters agreed that there is much that the United States and world can learn from the experience of India in building a high-quality, resilient telehealth program.

As one participant commented:

What a fine presentation—again! Both the presenters are not only knowledgeable but experts on it! These webinars have been very gratifying to see so many good people doing so many good things.

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