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CEO Perspective

2021: Building Equitable and Effective Public Health Systems

A COVID-19 testing line in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Through the Bloomberg Philanthropies Partnership for Healthy Cities, we’ve helped dozens of cities around the globe in the urban response to COVID-19.

Like much of the world, Vital Strategies entered 2021 with hope that the new COVID-19 vaccines and the lessons of 2020 would bring an end to the worst of this pandemic.

Unfortunately, while considerable progress has been made, COVID-19 continues to challenge assumptions and defy predictions. While leaders in many places are debating what “new normal” should look like, 2021 has also been marked by continued politicization and polarization, damaging inequities in access to vaccines and treatments, and health impacts far beyond COVID itself, from economic-related vulnerabilities such as food security, to mental health challenges, to interruptions in lifesaving TB treatment.

In some ways, this pandemic has made Vital’s expansive mission more critical than ever and has put a spotlight on the need for integrated, scaled and well-resourced public health. Over these past two years, we have kept moving, responding to COVID-19 and tackling our longstanding priorities. We engaged with more cities and countries and initiated and sustained local partnerships around the world that are critical to improving public health locally and globally.

We also updated our mission and vision statements in 2021, and engaged in thoughtful conversations to revise our values to better represent how we want to interact with the world and with each other. And, with essential leadership from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force, we continued our efforts to promote DEI across the organization and throughout our work, recognizing that there is much work yet to be done.

I am immensely proud of our accomplishments, many of which are listed below. You can also see a collection of photos from our work throughout 2021 here.

What we have shown over the past two years is that strong technical talent, a collaborative and engaged network, and values that keep us focused and nimble leave us well poised to address the challenges to come.

José Luis Castro
President and Chief Executive Officer

Photos From 2021

National Health Day activities in Bandung, Indonesia amplified newly expanded smoke-free regulations. See more photos from our work throughout 2021.

Highlights From 2021

We’re more committed than ever to building equitable and effective public health systems for all. Here is a look at some of our key achievements from our programs over the past year.