Fellows in the News: October

By Aspen New Voices

Aspen New Voices Fellows are making waves! New Voices Senior Fellows have been in the news lately – using their platforms and expertise to influence policy and advocate for important policy changes at the highest levels.

1. Minda Dentler at the World Health Summit!

‘No child should have to live with paralysis from polio’.

On 18th October, polio survivor and Ironman champion Minda Dentler (a 2017 Aspen New Voices Fellow) spoke at the World Health Summit in Berlin on ending polio. She was part of the “Polio Eradication Pledging Moment” alongside global health leaders like World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, U.S. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, and UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. At the event, 17 partners pledged up to US $2.6 billion for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative which aims to vaccinate nearly 370 million children annually for the next five years to achieve eradication of the disease by 2026.

During her Fellowship year, Minda recorded a TEDTalk that made a big splash. Bill Gates shared Minda’s story as inspiration to keep finding to end polio. Since her TEDTalk, Minda has continued to speak on global stages, advocating for effective polio eradication policies. Her efforts during the World Health Summit to secure funds for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative mark a major step forward.

“We have the tools and strategies in place to achieve eradication. We now need renewed commitments from partners to make this hope a reality.’

Minda Dentler with Dr Tedros Ghebreyesu and Martha Rebour at the World Health Summit 2022
Minda Dentler and Ngozi Erondu at the World Health Summit 2022

2. Ngozi Erondu and Tlaleng Mofokeng co-chair the O’Neill-Lancet Commission

On 21st October, with the Lancet and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health at Georgetown University, Dr. Ngozi Erondu (a 2017 New Voices Fellow) and Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng (a 2019 New Voices Fellow) launched a Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination and Global Health. This three-year Commission will bring together experts from across the globe to uncover and promote anti-racist strategies and actions to reduce barriers to health and wellbeing facing communities on the basis of race, ethnicity, tribe, caste, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability or religion.

On 20th October, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng delivered to the UN General Assembly her report on Racism and the Right to Health. This is the second report of her tenure as the Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health.

Access the full session here!

Ngozi Erondu and Tlaleng Mofokeng at the O’Neill-Lancet Commission! 

3. Dixon Chibanda and the Friendship Bench at the 2022 Fifa World Cup!

On October 10, it was announced that Friendship Bench will be showcased at the Fifa World Cup. Dixon Chibanda founded the Friendship Bench to provide low-cost access to mental health services. Dixon had never given an interview nor written an opinion article before his Fellowship year, but following a few high-profile interviews and several opinion articles, Dixon gained five new funders following 2017 and has scaled Friendship Bench into 6 new countries. The initiative has directly supported 160,000 clients and has expanded to both New York City and London. We will continue rooting for Dixon as he champions low-barrier access to effective mental health treatment.

4. Jemimah Njuki and the UN Women’s 2022 Food Report

On 20th October, UN Women’s Chief of the Economic Empowerment section Jemimah Njuki (a 2017 New Voices Fellow) launched UN Women’s 2022 Global Food 50/50 Report and Index. The goal of the index is to keep food systems organizations accountable for gender equality in their leadership, policies and work.

Jemimah learned of the New Voices Fellowship in 2016 and applied with a specific goal of learning how to take her message to a wider audience. Following a series of successfully published opinion articles, Jemimah was named Director for Africa at IFPRI. And in March 2022, she assumed her new role as Chief of Economic Empower at UN Women. We are thrilled to see that Jemimah continuously made major contributions to gender equality work since her Fellowship year.