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PRESS RELEASE – DECEMBER 4, 2005

Malaria fighters congregate in Atlanta: motivation and passion escalate to fight the disease
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December 6, 2005 at Emory University in Atlanta will mark an historic meeting, open to the public at large (see www.malaria.org, the Malaria Foundation International website, to register in advance).  Malaria fighters along with many new supporters will gather from 2:30 pm to 7:30 pm to launch Atlanta's first annual "Hedge Funds vs. Malaria" business leadership conference, in the Tull Auditorium of Emory's School of Law.  Atlanta is waking up to the reality that malaria kills thousands of children each and every day. An astounding number of children die from malaria, a completely preventable and treatable disease.  As many as 75 million have died in the past 25 years.  This is incredulous given today's high tech communications and CNN and other news agencies operating globally throughout this period.

A new initiative is gaining momentum to curb the spread of this disease.  While malaria is a devastating global disease, most Americans are unaware of the cause, the methods of control, the treatments, or the magnitude of the disease.  Unchecked, malaria spreads rapidly and indiscriminately through communities.  Carried by mosquitoes, malaria infects thousands of vulnerable children while they sleep.  However, malaria can be prevented through the use of insecticide sprays and bednets.   Antimalarial drugs exist to treat those who fall ill, and these need to be made available and used with proper instruction.  Malaria can kill within a few days of the onset of symptoms, which include intense chills, fever, headache and nausea.  Awareness of these issues is critical if the fight against malaria is to succeed. 

Malaria used to be rampant in the United States, especially in the Southern states, but it was eliminated when proper measures were taken to prevent and treat the disease.  Atlanta's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was started in the 1930s, originally as the Malaria Field Station, with the help of philanthropist and friend of Emory University, Coca Cola Executive, Mr. Robert W. Woodruff.  Meanwhile, while the United States has remained essentially free of the disease for decades, with only occasional cases reported, millions of people continue to die in over 90 countries around the world unnecessarily from malaria, especially throughout Africa.  Families and communities are suffering large losses daily, by the thousands.  The world is slowly waking up to the reality of this persistent horror, akin to a holocaust.

Hedge Fund leaders have been developing this conference in partnership with the Malaria Foundation International (MFI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit developing strong new roots in Atlanta.   The program with its highly prominent speakers profiled can be found at the MFI's home page (www.malaria.org).  The meeting aims to raise awareness to unprecedented levels.  Speakers will address the realities of malaria today, what is being done, and what more can be done, and bring business leadership and marketing wisdom to bare.  The meeting involves real life heroes, who will engage an expanding network of volunteers and professional supporters, with the common dedication and team spirit required to build collaborations to effectively fight this disease, using multi-pronged evidence-based approaches, with rigorous monitoring.  A new momentum is building, with champions being identified, committed to take a firm stand against this disease for the long haul, village by village, in support of establishing "Malaria Free Zones".  Similar conferences will follow in other cities, hosted at other universities.  Emory University is the first to step up to the plate.

Malaria is deadly, but also fascinating given its medical and scientific complexities.  Individuals are being sought from various disciplines to bring new perspectives to this major global health challenge.  The conference will have something of interest for everyone: medicine, science, health, and investing, marketing, economics, finance, sports, culture, the arts, and so on.  Malaria researchers and public health specialists from Emory University have led the way in preparing for Emory to host the "Hedge Funds vs. Malaria" conference. Leaders from the Halle Institute of Global Learning and the Office of International Affairs, the Goizueta Business School and many others have provided strong back-up support.  "We are developing a team", says Dr. Mary Galinski, a member of the Emory Vaccine Center and Infectious Disease Faculty and Founder of the MFI.  "We see malaria as a solvable problem, which must be approached from many angles, with new insights from creative individuals", she added.  This event will lead to a vibrant Pathfinders Program involving people from across campus, and beyond. 

Malaria researchers at the Emory Vaccine Center noted, "As we see it, we need a new network of individuals, companies and foundations to come on board.  The parasite that causes malaria is complex, but this disease can be beaten.  The time is perfect for others to join us in this fight".  Science has advanced in modern directions and several current solutions can and must be applied today.  Meanwhile, the genome sequences of several species of the malaria causing Plasmodium parasites are now known, and this genetic information is providing important momentum for expediting essential research to develop malaria vaccines and new drugs that are hoped to be cost effective and withstand the parasite's clever immune evasion strategies and the development of resistance. 

The Hedge Funds vs. Malaria conference will highlight several projects, like Dunk Malaria, which can engage people of all ages in every community throughout Atlanta.  "We are making it "hip", "fun", and intellectually very rewarding to fight malaria", says Dr. Galinski.  The day after the conference, several speakers including adventurer David Robertson from the United Kingdom, retired NBA basketball player Steffond Johnson from Texas, corporate executive Titus Korir from Kenya, and renowned malaria leader Professor Wen Kilama from Tanzania, will meet with Emory students and build a strategic plan for developing community awareness, education and malaria control projects.

For more information please contact: 

Dr. Mary R. Galinski, Founder and President, MFI
Head, Malaria Research and Education Programs, Emory University
Email: mary.galinski@emory.edu
Cell #: 770-891-1604

Dr. Cindy Korir, Project Coordinator and African Liaison, MFI
Scientist, Malaria Research and Education Programs, Emory University
Email: ckorir@emory.edu

Mr. Lance Laifer, Co-founder of Hedge Funds vs. Malaria
Email: vs.malaria@gmail.com

 

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