Amsterdam, 15 July 2015 – Today, almost a year after the MH17 disaster, the foundation of the Joep Lange Institute and the Joep Lange Chair and Fellows program was announced. The institute will safeguard and apply the unique combination of scientific research, pragmatism and action that characterized Joep Lange. The first funding, consisting of $20 million from private sources in the United States, has been confirmed. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs will support the Joep Lange Chair. To mark the announcement of the Institute, former US President Bill Clinton has shared a video message in which he honors Joep Lange’s work and emphasizes the importance of carrying forward his legacy. Operations will start in late 2015.
Dutch current affairs program Nieuwsuur announced the Joep Lange Institute during a 7 minute item on July 15th:
Joep Lange and his partner and colleague Jacqueline van Tongeren lost their lives one year ago in the MH17 tragedy. They were en route to the international AIDS conference in Melbourne. While this loss remains devastating, the Joep Lange Institute will provide a platform to continue their mission to improve access to quality healthcare for the people who need it most.
Joep Lange was a prominent doctor and scientist, and also an activist. He never shied away from pointing out the real issues and worked tirelessly to address them. He had neither the time nor the patience to concern himself with political sensitivities. The patient always came first, whether it was one of his own patients in the Netherlands or someone he had never met in a country where proper care was out of reach. Joep pushed the envelope in the field of global health, applying innovations, conducting groundbreaking research, setting up controversial partnerships with the private sector and testing new financing mechanisms in countries where no one thought it would be possible.
Joep was especially pragmatic when it came to applying science to real-life settings. Innovations should work not only in the lab, but in the real world. By combining research and action he was able to demonstrate that HIV/AIDS treatment in Africa was feasible, and that the delay in delivering it was thus a political choice. This forced international government agencies, donors and the private sector to reevaluate their position.
In the words of former US President Bill Clinton, “Joep and his team at PharmAccess (…) helped to dramatically increase HIV/AIDS treatment (…) at a time when most people thought it was impossible to do so. Through Joep’s vision and untiring devotion, AIDS treatment has now saved millions of lives across Africa, and all around the world, and given us hope for a day when AIDS is a thing of the past.”
Joep Lange Institute
The essence of the Joep Lange Institute is the combination of innovation, research and action in order to improve access to quality healthcare by building efficient and effective health systems on a foundation of solidarity.
Working with international and local partners from both the public and the private sector, the Joep Lange Institute will identify and initiate innovations in healthcare delivery and financing. This includes developing new technologies for diagnostics, new ways to connect people to quality healthcare through mobile applications and new approaches to make use of big data. These innovations will be scientifically tested, applied in real-life settings and continually optimized until they generate effective and affordable results. These results will then form the basis for scientific publications as well as advocacy efforts with the relevant public and private parties.
Joep Lange Chair and Fellows Program
The Joep Lange Institute, which will be based in Amsterdam, will also encompass the Professor Joep Lange Chair and Fellows Program. This program will be set up within the Global Health Department, Amsterdam Medical Centre (University of Amsterdam) with the support of the Dutch government. The Chair and Fellows program will bring together the brightest minds from all over the world in the field of Global Health. In partnership with the top academic institutes in Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States, they will focus on building the knowledge base of global health and working together with organizations who can apply these insights to improve access to quality healthcare across the globe.
About AIGHD and PharmAccess
Joep Lange founded both AIGHD and PharmAccess with the aim of achieving optimal impact through their complementary activities in research and action respectively. Joep’s vision is part of the DNA of these two organizations. His former colleagues are honored to continue building on his mission, knowledge, network and pragmatism through the Joep Lange Institute.
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