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International Health

June 18, 2018

Professor Anthony So Appointed Co-Convener of the United Nations Interagency Coordination Group to Lead Global Efforts on Antimicrobial Resistance

Anthony So
Anthony So, MD, MPA, professor of the practice, International Health,
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 

Anthony So, MD, MPA, a professor of the practice in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was appointed Co-Convener of the United Nations Interagency Coordination Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) by the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.

The IACG is a global, multidisciplinary, coordinating body that will provide practical guidance to the UN Secretary General to ensure sustained effective global action on the growing threat of AMR. As co-convener, Dr. So will help guide and facilitate the work of the IACG to deliver recommendations to the UN Secretary General by May 2019.

The IACG brings together leaders of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), representatives from UN agencies and international organizations, and individual experts. Together, their mission is to review progress globally since the September 2016 UN Political Declaration on AMR; advocate for and guide concrete action to address AMR; and recommend post-IACG governance models for improved coordination, accountability and continued political momentum. The Group is chaired by the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed and World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Dr. So is director of the IDEA (Innovation + Design Enabling Access) Initiative at the Bloomberg School and of the Strategic Policy Program of the global network, ReAct - Action on Antibiotic Resistance Dr. So has served on The Lancet Infectious Diseases’ Commission on Antibiotic Resistance and co-edited the Chatham House report on a new global business model for financing antibiotic research and development. He has chaired a WHO expert working group on fostering innovation to address antimicrobial resistance and was part of the Antibiotic Resistance Working Group of the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology. He also has studied antibiotic innovation as a recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. Also bringing a civil society perspective to his role as co-convener, Dr. So serves as head of the Secretariat for the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC), a network of over 25 civil society organizations working in the human health, environmental and agricultural sectors to tackle AMR globally. Dr. So is also thematic lead for the Transformative Technologies and Institutions arm of the recently launched Johns Hopkins Alliance for a Healthier World.

Antimicrobial resistance is an emerging health issue across the globe, as bacterial strains are becoming resistant to the drugs needed to treat these infections. If left unchecked, it is projected that 10 million people will die from drug-resistant infections in 2050, more than the number of people who die from cancer today. Driven by antibiotic overuse both in food production and in human healthcare delivery, growing resistance to antibiotics will put at risk the miracles of modern day medicine, from organ donor transplant to cancer chemotherapy. Yet underuse of antibiotics, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, can take a greater toll than overuse today. Dr. So’s work on AMR has worked to shape incentives, policies and intersectoral responses in a way that ensures innovation and access to life-saving antibiotics will be equitable and affordable for those in need.