Bill Gates to Keynote “Epidemics Going Viral” Program Hosted by Massachusetts Medical Society and New England Journal of Medicine

Bill Gates to Keynote “Epidemics Going Viral” Program Hosted by Massachusetts Medical Society and New England Journal of Medicine

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Free live web event will convene researchers, clinicians, and public health officials with firsthand experience combatting epidemics.


Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will deliver the 128th annual Shattuck Lecture at “Epidemics Going Viral: Innovation vs. Nature,” presented Friday, April 27, by the Massachusetts Medical Society and the New England Journal of Medicine.

The event, which will be livestreamed from 8:00 AM – 12:45 PM ET, will bring together an esteemed group of researchers, clinicians, public health officials, and others with firsthand experience dealing with epidemics to explore the complex challenges and potential solutions toward containing these global health emergencies.

Following his talk on the role of innovation in reducing the impact of future epidemics, Gates will have a conversation with Michelle Williams, SM, ScD, Dean of the Faculty at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“The world today isn’t fully ready for the next global pandemic, but we are beginning to assemble an arsenal of new tools to help protect people from deadly pathogens,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “I’m looking forward to speaking about some of these innovations and other steps we must take to detect, prepare, and respond to future pandemics.”

The five-hour summit will include a panel discussion to analyze lessons from past epidemics that can be applied to combating future outbreaks. In another session, panelists will reflect on their experiences and the unique challenges that arise in conducting research at epidemic sites around the world. Speakers include:

Anne Schuchat, MD, Principal Deputy Director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Harvey Fineberg, MD, PhD, President, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; former President, Institute of Medicine

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, former CDC Director; President and Chief Executive Officer, Resolve to Save Lives

Jeremy Farrar, OBE, FRCP, FRS, Director, Wellcome Trust

“In the last 20 years, the medical community has confronted SARS, Ebola, and Zika outbreaks,” said Jeffrey Drazen, MD, Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. “In each case, the epidemic was contained, but not without significant losses of life or devastating impact. What if we could work together, faster, to contain – or prevent – these epidemics? It is my hope that this is our future. Those gathered for this event have the reach to make this more of a reality.”

“Health care has become ever more global in nature, which means that the next epidemic could start anywhere and impact any of us, even from a great distance,” said Henry L. Dorkin, MD, FAAP, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society. “However, by working collaboratively on a global scale, we can pool resources, knowledge, and experiences to prepare for, and quickly respond to, worldwide health care crises that the future may hold.”

The full agenda and list of panelists and speakers can be found at To watch the free live webcast, audiences can register online and are welcome join the event’s conversation on Twitter at #epidemicsgoviral.


About the New England Journal of Medicine
The New England Journal of Medicine ( is the world’s leading medical journal and website. Continuously published for over 200 years, NEJM publishes peer-reviewed research and interactive clinical content for physicians, educators, and the global medical community. NEJM is a publication of NEJM Group, a division of the Massachusetts Medical Society. For more information, please visit

About the Massachusetts Medical Society
The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) is the statewide professional association for physicians and medical students, supporting 25,000 members. We are dedicated to educating and advocating for the physicians of Massachusetts and patients locally and nationally. A leadership voice in health care, the MMS contributes physician and patient perspectives to influence health-related legislation at the state and federal levels, works in support of public health, provides expert advice on physician practice management, and addresses issues of physician well-being.

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