2016: Refocusing on Immunization
A letter from the Chairman and the CEO
In 2016, the Sabin Vaccine Institute adopted a new mission, welcomed new leadership and set forth an ambitious strategic plan to advance our vision of a future free from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Following a comprehensive, six-month strategic planning process in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, Sabin’s Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a new strategic plan in December, which renews Sabin’s focus on vaccine-preventable diseases and aligns our activities with a new mission:
Our mission is to make vaccines more accessible, enable innovation and expand immunization across the globe.
Despite tremendous investments over the last decade, the benefits of immunization have not been fully realized. After examining the issues and assessing how Sabin can best contribute in the coming years, it became clear that we can have the greatest impact by focusing on immunization. Sabin’s new strategy builds on more than 20 years of experience working behind the scenes with countries to help them achieve their immunization goals through advocacy, education and as a trusted convener of the global health community.
Our work is guided by three strategic priorities: enabling vaccine access and uptake, advancing vaccine knowledge and innovation, and supporting research and development for immunization.
In order to focus fully on vaccine-preventable diseases, Sabin’s Board of Trustees made the decision in 2016 to conclude Sabin’s non-vaccine-based work in neglected tropical diseases. Over the last decade, Sabin helped put neglected tropical diseases onto the global agenda through the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, Sabin Foundation Europe and the END7 campaign, which mobilized political will and funding to end the most common neglected tropical diseases. This work is a proud chapter in Sabin’s legacy, and a strong network of global health organizations is well positioned to carry this progress forward. The policy and advocacy expertise we have built through these initiatives will be a valuable asset to Sabin as we continue, more focused than ever, to advance immunization at the global, regional and country levels.
In the spring of 2017, Dr. Peter J. Hotez resigned his role as President of Sabin Vaccine Institute to pursue his increasing responsibilities at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. Peter has played a vital role in Sabin’s success in the last 17+ years, including a decade as Sabin’s President. The Sabin team, specifically the Board of Trustees, expresses its appreciation to Peter for his service and contributions to Sabin’s success.
For many years, Sabin partnered with The George Washington University, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and other institutions to research and develop new vaccines for neglected and emerging diseases, led by Peter and Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi. This spring, the Sabin Board of Trustees resolved to transfer these projects and all associated grants, contracts and intellectual property to Baylor College of Medicine, which continues this research at the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development in Houston, Texas. Sabin’s leadership team and Board of Trustees remain committed to supporting research to identify innovative approaches to combat infectious and emerging threats. We are currently evaluating new research and development opportunities, seeking projects with transformative potential to improve lives through immunization.
As we began implementing our strategy in early 2017, Dr. Bruce Gellin joined our team in the newly created position of President of Global Immunization. Bruce served for 15 years as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the National Vaccine Program Office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In his new role, Bruce is leading Sabin’s efforts to champion sustainable, evidence-based solutions to prevent disease through vaccination and drive partnerships in the global health community. Bruce’s breadth of vaccine experience and commitment to improving global health through immunization bring great benefit to Sabin, to our stakeholders, and ultimately to the people and communities we serve around the world.
Sabin is a small organization with an outsized impact. By deliberately focusing on the areas in which we are uniquely positioned to make a difference, we will expand upon our past success to build sustainable, equitable access to immunization. Our 2016 Annual Report highlights our current activities to build sustainable immunization systems, support the development and introduction of new vaccines, gather evidence for policymaking, and shape the global conversation about vaccines.
Dr. Albert B. Sabin, developer of the oral live virus polio vaccine and namesake of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, dedicated himself to ensuring that research “not remain something beautiful on the shelves of libraries or like the works of art hanging in museums, but that it be used, as far as possible, to solve basic and human problems.”
This purpose still guides our work today. Energized by our clarity of purpose, in 2017 we have formed new partnerships, welcomed new leadership on our staff and board, and advanced our work to extend the benefits of immunization to all people, no matter who they are or where they live.