Laurie Garrett Delivers Information-Packed Saward Presentation

The Newmark Theatre was filled nearly to its 925-seat capacity as award-winning science writer Laurie Garrett delivered the 2010 Saward Lecture on September 16, 2010. Using an automated PowerPoint presentation that ran through a dazzling array of images, charts and statistics, Ms. Garrett, a former reporter for Newsday and National Public Radio who is now the Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations, covered the hot topics in global health today—worldwide funding to combat HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases, the rapid rise of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that are all competing for these funds, the impact of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the impending threats to global health as the world economy falters and crucial funding gets cut.

A Lively Post-Lecture Discussion

During the half-hour Q & A period that followed the lecture, TCHR Director Mary Durham posed written questions submitted by audience members. Ms. Garrett answered these questions in a familiar, humorous manner, touching on a range of topics, from the downside of bottled water to the benefits of global cooperation in combating the spread of infectious diseases.

Many attendees stayed afterwards for the reception and book signing, and at one point the line for getting signed copies of Ms. Garrett’s two books, The Coming Plague and Betrayal of Trust, stretched across the carpeted lobby. Ms. Garrett’s next book, about the anthrax scare after 9/11 and the controversy surrounding it, is scheduled for release next spring.

Breakfast Panel Features Women Leaders

Earlier in the day, Ms. Garrett spoke at a breakfast panel at the DoubleTree Lloyd Center. Titled “Women Leaders—A Conversation,” the panel included eight other women leaders, including the first and only female governor of Oregon, Barbara Roberts; Sharon Higgins, MD, the executive medical director of NW Permanente; a judge; an employment attorney; a vice provost from Portland State University; and a magazine editor. Mary Durham, serving as master of ceremonies, kept the far-ranging conversation on course and gave the audience plenty of time to ask questions.

“Don’t wait to be given permission to do something that you feel needs to be done,” advised Judge Darleen Ortega. “Just do it. I wasted a lot of years waiting for my superiors to grant me permission to do things and I now realize I should have started doing sooner—such as getting involved in the community and mentoring others.”

Other panelists pointed out that sometimes the biggest obstacles women face in their careers are their own self-limiting beliefs. Governor Roberts delighted and inspired the audience with her many pithy words of wisdom based on three decades of political leadership. The panel was just starting to discuss childrearing and work-life balance when time ran out. All agreed that the conversation could easily have gone on another three days. We were honored to hear from all of the accomplished women on our panel, including Ms. Garrett.

Follow Us