April 24, 2012 — In this lecture, Kelley Lee, associate dean of research and director of global health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, looked at the World Health Organization’s struggle for continued relevance.
Amid scholarly policy debates about the need to strengthen global health governance, the role of the World Health Organization is invariably called into question. The WHO, the U.N. specialized agency for health, was created in 1948 to protect and promote health worldwide. However, the world has changed immensely over the past six decades, shaped foremost by forces of globalization. Within the health field, the transnational nature of a growing range of health determinants, as well as their resultant health outcomes, presses the world to find new and effective means of collective action known as global health governance. Kelley Lee reviewed how the WHO fits within these efforts (which have resulted in a proliferation of global health institutions and initiatives), the key issues facing the WHO’s struggle for continued relevance, and how the global health reform agenda might be taken forward.
Associate Dean, Research & Director, Global Health
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr. Kelley Lee is trained in International Relations and Public Administration with a focus on international political economy. She spent the past 20 years at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she analyzed the role of the United Nations in health, and was a core member of two major donor-led studies on World Health Organization reform during the 1990s. She then led the establishment of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Global Change and Health, and chaired the WHO Resource Group on Globalization, Trade and Health. Dr. Lee also co-led a major international initiative to secure public access to tobacco industry documents, as well as analyze their contents in relation to the globalization of the tobacco industry.
Dr. Lee has authored more than 70 scholarly papers, 40 book chapters and seven books including Globalization and Health, An Introduction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), Global Change and Health (Open University Press, 2005), and The World Health Organization (Routledge, 2008). She is currently completing two books, Global Health and International Relations (Polity Press with Colin McInnes) and Asia’s Role in Global Health Governance (Routledge edited with Tikki Pang and Yeling Tan). She joined Simon Fraser University in Vancouver as director of global health in 2011.