GGC-Health • GGC-Environment • GGC-Disaster Resilience
Dr. Eric Rasmussen is the CEO for Infinitum Humanitarian Systems (IHS), a multinational consulting group built on a profit-for-purpose model. He is an internal medicine physician with both undergraduate and medical degrees from Stanford University and a European Master’s degree in disaster medicine from the UN World Health Organization’s affiliate CEMEC (Centre European pour la Medecin des Catastrophes) in Italy. He was elected a Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 1997 and a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club in 2014.
Rasmussen is also a Research Professor in Environmental Security and Global Medicine at San Diego State University and an instructor in disaster medicine at both the International Disaster Academy in Bonn, Germany and the Institute for Disaster Preparedness at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
He serves, pro bono, as the medical director for two biotech startups, and as CEO to an NGO specializing in anti-slavery/anti-trafficking efforts for refugees. He’s a Permanent Advisor to the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Expert Panel on Water Disasters and has been a member of the US National Academy of Science’s Committee on Grand Challenges in Global Development since 2012.
He served in the US Navy for 25 years aboard nuclear submarines, amphibious ships, and aircraft carriers. His positions included Fleet Surgeon for the US Navy’s Third Fleet, director of an Intensive Care Unit, and Chairman of an academic department of medicine in Seattle.
His wartime deployments included Bosnia three times, Afghanistan twice, and Iraq for ten months. For a portion of his Navy career he was also a Principal Investigator in humanitarian informatics for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). After retiring from the Navy he was appointed the Founding CEO for the TED Prize awarded to Dr. Larry Brilliant, then Executive Director of Google.org.
Since 2014 Rasmussen has also led the Global Disaster Response Team for the Roddenberry Foundation, supported by the Star Trek franchise and in partnership with MIT. That team provides permanent water purification and renewable power to violently displaced populations and has deployed to Supertyphoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the Nepal earthquake, Hurricane Mathew in Haiti, and three times to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
The concept of a universal biometric identity is fraught with Western concerns about individual privacy, and rightly so. For those with no recognized identity at all, however, being acknowledged as “alive” is an important step toward safety, security, and upward mobility. In this talk, I discuss real-world examples of the costs of being “invisible” and some biometric options that seem to be working to reduce the exploitation, trafficking, and slavery of those living in the shadows.
The advent of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was a tragedy of significant proportions. Like any complex event, however, there were lessons to be learned and new directions to explore in ensuring we could not be quite so surprised next time. In this talk, I describe a few of the many advances we made in science, technology, and policy during this outbreak, with particular attention to a basic science discovery that may help us understand far broader biological paradigms
Building resilience against natural disasters, climate change and security risks is increasingly important and exponential technologies are providing an opportunity to build more resilient systems as well as create new solutions to quickly recover when disasters occur. Recent disasters such as serial hurricanes that struck the US and Caribbean in 2017 give us new insight into how innovative thinkers are building solutions to help speed recovery and in some cases leapfrog their communities into the future.