From the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to congratulate the entire Vital Strategies team on a transformative year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vital Strategies has made a greater impact and been more sought after than ever, partnering with global, national and local governments and organizations around the world. I am moved by the fortitude and resilience of our staff, who worked tirelessly while facing their own personal challenges.
In early 2020, Vital Strategies rapidly expanded to support the epidemic response in 50+ countries. We were nimble and capable of meeting every new commitment we made, and never lost sight of our central work to prevent and reduce noncommunicable diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.
Because of Vital Strategies’ steadfast commitment and track record, the organization has experienced explosive growth in recent years, from an annual budget of $50 million in 2014 to $182 million in 2021. We now have a team of more than 400 working in 73 countries. Even in the midst of the pandemic, we were able to expand our reach by establishing offices in Ethiopia and India, countries where we have worked for many years. These join our existing offices in Brazil, China, France, Singapore and New York.
Public health has long been in the background: Most people don’t see the web of protections that public health provides. It’s the person who doesn’t get lung cancer because tobacco control measures protected them from secondhand smoke. It’s the pedestrian death that didn’t happen because good data identified a dangerous intersection. It’s the overdose prevented by effective, evidence-based harm reduction policies. In 2020, public health became central and visible in our daily lives.
It is my hope that out of this year of crisis, the world will see the value of investing in our public health systems and see how much progress we can make on what seem like insurmountable challenges if we only have the will to do it. Let us have the will in 2021 and coming years, so that we can recover from this crisis and continue building a healthier world.