Tom Paulson

Humanosphere Blogger

The host of the Humanosphere community is Tom Paulson, who spent 22 years reporting on science and medicine at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Tom was one of the first daily news reporters to cover the topic of “global health” (a much-debated label which he discusses the merits of on the Humanosphere website).

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Humanosphere
2:58 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

The Seattle science that led to FDA approval of HIV-prevention drug

Gilead Sciences manufactures Truvada, the drug approved for preventing HIV.
GILEAD

The FDA today approved the first drug, known as Truvada, for preventing HIV in people at high risk of infection due to ‘discordance’ – science lingo for being HIV negative but having a sex partner who is HIV positive.

Seattle scientists played a critical role in demonstrating the drug’s effectiveness in Kenya and Uganda studies.

Read more on Humanosphere.

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The Gates Foundation
12:05 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Exploring the Gates Foundation's connection to the Glaxo scandal

The former head of global health for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation worked for Glaxo during some of its troubled times.
The Associated Press

In a "landmark" legal case, the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline pled guilty last week to engaging in fraudulent, criminal behavior which included covering up adverse drug side-effects, promoting ineffective therapies and hiding unfavorable data — and will pay a record $3 billion in fines.

An aspect of the story that seems to be underreported is that one high-profile Glaxo executive alleged to have engaged in misbehavior is Tachi Yamada, former head of global health for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who was before that head of research and development for GSK.

Read more on Humanosphere.

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Humanosphere
1:51 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Rio+20: Will it help save the planet or just be another useless meeting?

Earth's population, as demonstrated by this image, certainly needs something to come out of this global meeting.
Michael Free Jazz Faster Flickr

The threats to our well-being (well beyond climate change now) are quite real. The goals of Rio+20 – to arrive at consensus on what’s needed to avoid continuing this massive fouling of our nest – are perhaps more important to our future than any other meeting we could hope to hold.

So you’d think there would be some urgency to achieve something. Don’t hold your breath.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
1:30 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

How a passing comment on an old medical test won a $100K grant

Gates Grand Challenges award winner Kathleen Bongiovanni demonstrates how a simple idea may save the lives of millions of premature babies.
Tom Paulson KPLU

Earlier this week, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the latest 100 winners of $100,000 grants from its Grand Challenges Exploration program aimed at supporting high-risk, creative approaches to improving health and fighting poverty in poor countries.

Celebrated for funding “wild” and “wacky” ideas, this year’s batch of Gates Grand Challenge winners included proposals to develop, as the AP reported, unmanned drones to deliver vaccines, tattoos for monitoring pregnancy and a “tuberculosis breathalyzer.”

Read more on Humanosphere.org

Humanosphere
1:10 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Prof. says Africa can feed itself, and the world, through science

Calestous Juma, center, jokes with one of his leading critics, Phil Bereano, at left
Tom Paulson Humanosphere

The Harvard University professor of international development is author of “The New Harvest,” a book (free online) in which he makes his case for how agricultural reforms offer the most promise for positively transforming African economies.

Juma, though entertaining, doesn’t mince words — “Africa is already doing organic farming … and it isn’t working very well.” He describes himself as a bit of ‘techno-optimist,’ a believer like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the fundamental power of science and technology to transform agriculture in poor countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
3:55 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Seattle global health expert issues call to arms in the war on fake drugs

Did you know a small, but increasing number of drugs are fake?
Rodrigo Senna Flickr

What looks like a very boring academic and institutional report, entitled “Ensuring Safe Foods and Medical Products Through Stronger Regulatory Systems Abroad,” is in fact a call to arms. A Seattle man is a leading voice in sounding the alarm on the problem of counterfeit drugs.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
11:47 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Sequel to Kony 2012 takes on critics, appeals less to emotion

Screen shot from the new Kony 2012 video by Invisible Children.

This time, the video by Invisible Children is not so much a repeat of their first call to action as a defense of their action.

It’s kind of like when the Star Wars franchise put out a sequel that actually went back in time to explain how everything got started.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
12:23 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

'Hunger Games' threatened legal action against humanitarians

A fan of the 'Hungar Games' makes a play off of a character's names - a play off the title of the movie got Oxfam threatened with a lawsuit.
The Associated Press

The film company Lionsgate, which produced the blockbuster movie based on books about a post-apocalyptic, oppressive and divided America where the poor are starving, abused and also enlisted for gladiator-like sport, threatened to sue Oxfam for riffing off the popular movie to launch its campaign “Hunger is Not a Game.”

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
2:25 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Seattle doctor to battle breast cancer in Uganda

“In developing countries, breast cancer is detected much later than in countries with established screening programs,” Dr. Constance Lehman said.

As an example of how cancer is no longer viewed solely as a health care issue of the rich world, a physician from Seattle plans to launch a pilot project studying the use of portable ultrasound for breast cancer diagnosis in Uganda.

Dr. Constance Lehman, a radiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, wants to see if using the device in selected communities can improve detection and treatment success rates of this common cancer and killer.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Global Health
3:37 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Steve Davis, entrepreneur and rights advocate, to head PATH

Steve Davis has been selected by PATH’s board to take the position of president and CEO.

In one sense, Davis' new job leading PATH represents a return to where he started — as a refugee settlement coordinator on the Thai-Laos border in the 1980s and later, as a young attorney, working on human rights issues in China, for gay and lesbian rights here in the U.S. and as a passionate advocate for the disenfranchised in general.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
11:05 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Protesters call upon Gates Foundation to sever ties with Monsanto

Anti-GMO protest at the Gates Foundation in Seattle.
Tom Paulson Humanosphere

As part of a somewhat spotty call for a worldwide protest against the practices of the multinational agricultural company Monsanto, about 40 protesters in Seattle descended upon the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Friday to demand that the philanthropy sever all its ties with the firm.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
12:46 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Clooney campaigns against other war crimes in Africa

Actor George Clooney spies a missile flying overhead in Sudan in this screen grab from a video he made while in the embattled territory.

George Clooney, who has praised the Stop Kony campaign aimed at ridding east-central Africa of warlord Joseph Kony, is trying to make sure our focus on such efforts isn’t too singular.

The actor and human rights advocate has long been focused on the ongoing atrocities in Sudan and recently testified in Congress to draw attention to the killings, conflict and suffering. He recently snuck into a dangerous part of the country and produced this powerful, disturbing video.

Read more and watch the video on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
1:31 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Geena Davis, in Seattle, calls for the 'next women's movement'

Geena Davis (far right) with Chris Grumm (left) and Andrea Taylor at a Seattle Town Hall event last night.
Meryl Schenker www.merylschenker.com

"We’re due for a resurgence of the women’s movement."

Actor and women’s advocate Geena Davis, who played Thelma in the 1991 hit ‘neo-feminist’ movie Thelma & Louise, spent a lot of time at a Global Washington event in Seattle fielding questions and criticizing the way women are portrayed — and perceived — in Hollywood and throughout the media.

But her concerns are much more global.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
11:22 am
Tue March 13, 2012

Seattle's PATH gets sexy to save lives in Kenya

Screen shot from the trailer for "Shuga: Love, Sex, Money."

The Seattle-based global health organization has recently launched a steamy six-part television series in Nairobi, Kenya, called Shuga: Love, Sex, Money aimed at preventing the spread of HIV, the AIDS virus.

“This is pretty racy for Kenya,” said Rikka Trangsgrud, PATH’s long-time country programs director for Kenya. “There are some fairly explicit scenes and themes … We are really pushing the envelope here but the idea is to prompt important discussions.”

Read more and watch the trailer on Humanosphere.

Humanosphere
10:32 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Video campaign against African warlord Kony could do more harm than good

Invisible Children's film crew poses with Ugandan soldiers
Glenna Gordon

Over the last few days, a video posted on YouTube that aims to raise the profile — and potential for arrest — of the infamous African warlord Joseph Kony has been hugely popular and, in the eyes of many, so simplistic and inaccurate it is likely to do much more harm than good.

Read more on Humanosphere.

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