When it comes to global health, not everything has to be mission trips and hand-delivered packages of medicine. Some of the cause’s most influential work happens across a desk or over the phone. For Kim Bush, Director of Life Sciences Partnerships (LSP) at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and life-long advocate for the advancement of global health, making a difference means establishing strong relationships with the right people around the world.
"I’m helping to solve some of healthcare’s toughest issues,” says Bush, a 1976 graduate of UAB’s M.S. in Clinical Laboratory Sciences program. “I’m a results-oriented individual with a passion for global health.”
You might be familiar with Bush’s employer. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is recognized as one of the most powerful charitable organizations in the world, contributing over $28 billion toward efforts in global development since its creation in 1997. The foundation stresses the importance of innovation through collaborative partnership, which is exactly what Bush accomplishes as Director of the LSP.
"The LSP seeks active engagement with industry in order to achieve innovative, high-impact global health outcomes,” he explains. “These lead to healthy and productive lives for all people, especially those living in extreme poverty.”
Bush has been in the global health business for over thirty years now. Before joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he led a number of therapeutic and medical device-related businesses at Baxter International Healthcare Corporation, including the global Vaccine, European Bio-Science, and Blood Therapy divisions. And he credits much of his success to his UAB degree.
“UAB had and continues to have one of the most advanced programs in Clinical Laboratory Sciences,” Bush explains.“My degree provided me with an extraordinary background and gave me the opportunity to combine scientific knowledge with business training. I had the good fortune of being recruited out of the lab to work in sales and marketing with an excellent laboratory supply firm. I ended up liking it a lot and fell in love with being able to mix science, business, and people all together. I never looked back.”
If anything, Bush is only looking forward. In addition to his position with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he also holds a board observer seat on the Global Health Innovation Technology Fund (GHIT) and an Institute of Medicine (IOM) appointment to the Forum on Public-Private Partnerships in Global Health and Safety. The first organization is dedicated to advancing the development of health technology, while the second focuses on assisting the public in making informed decisions about health. He donates his time to both.
Bush emphasizes the importance of flexibility in higher education. Whether students decide to work with patients or industry, he says, a UAB degree is a valuable commodity.
“Don’t under estimate the value of your work and learning at UAB. It will be a solid foundation that you can apply to multiple opportunities across the life sciences, regardless of whether you choose to remain in the laboratory, engage with industry, work in public health, or move further into academia.If you ever consider going the commercial route, I can assure you that the UAB degree and a complimentary MBA will open up a world of opportunity.”