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May 3, 2021

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Co-Hosts: “Bridging Faith And Science To Combat The Overdose Crisis” With President Bill Clinton and Faith Leaders

The series, held in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and The Centre for Responsible Leadership, kicks off this week in a conversation with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta; Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; and Dr. David Satcher, 16th Surgeon General of the United States

New York, NY – This week, President Bill Clinton is bringing leaders from faith and science together to take action on the worsening crisis of addiction and overdose in the United States. The new virtual series, “Bridging Faith and Science to Combat the Overdose Crisis,” will launch Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. EDT in a live conversation with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta; Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; and Dr. David Satcher, 16th Surgeon General of the United States, with remarks from President Clinton. This series is co-hosted by the Clinton Foundation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and The Centre for Responsible Leadership.

However, communities of faith have been under-utilized in the public health effort to fight substance use disorders. This virtual series, which will extend through the coming year, offers an opportunity to explore this topic in depth and to inspire leaders to action.

This inaugural discussion will focus on understanding and addressing the role of racial and ethnic disparities in the addiction and overdose crisis as well as the role faith and science leaders can play in finding solutions. Future conversations in the series will explore topics such as the impact of COVID-19, access to services and tools, and actions that local, state, and federal policymakers can take to stem the crisis.

You can watch tomorrow’s event at 3:00 p.m. EDT here: https://www.jhsph.edu/events/2021/bridging-faith-and-science-to-combat-the-overdose-crisis/

“As overdose deaths spike during the COVID-19 pandemic, these discussions will be critical – helping us forge stronger bonds between the faith and scientific communities, and leading to specific actions that address the addiction and overdose crisis in America,” said President Bill Clinton. “Only by working together can we make a meaningful difference in this fight, to save lives, end stigma, and get more Americans into recovery.”

“The addiction and overdose epidemic affects us all, and the challenges have never been greater,” said Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, ScM. “I welcome the opportunity to provide a space where ambassadors from science and faith can share what unites us and define a way toward a better tomorrow.”

"Faith leaders are often the most powerful forces in driving social change and they should be at the forefront in our efforts to combat the addiction and overdose epidemic. This unique partnership will seek actionable solutions," said H.E Dr. Mohammad Bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Chairman, The Centre for Responsible Leadership.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 841,000 Americans have died from overdoses since 1999. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this crisis worse, disrupting individuals’ access to care and recovery communities. A record 88,000 lives were lost to overdoses in the 12 months ending in September 2020. While opioids account for a majority of deaths, as many as one-third of overdose deaths are attributable to other drugs, including amphetamines and cocaine.

The Clinton Foundation’s Opioid Response Network has worked with groups of religious leaders across different faiths and denominations, in communities across the country, to address the opioid epidemic. These faith leaders, armed with the knowledge, skills, resources, and confidence to effectively address substance use disorders in their local communities, are able to provide critical support for individuals, families, and communities.

In addition to work with faith leaders, the Clinton Foundation has worked for nearly a decade to address the opioid crisis, bringing together experts from across sectors to research, compile, and disseminate the best available science on substance use disorders. A convening with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2017 led to a white paper, “The Opioid Epidemic: From Evidence to Impact,” that outlined concrete action steps to help address this crisis. The Foundation also works to distribute the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone across the country, with more than 280,000 doses deployed to recovery residences, schools and universities, and other community organizations through ongoing partnerships.

This conversation follows last week’s release of an episode of the Foundation’s podcast, “Why Am I Telling You This?” featuring a conversation between President Clinton and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in 2019, where they discuss ways to fight the opioid epidemic. Listen to the episode here: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/256-why-am-i-telling-you-this-77113957/episode/dr-vivek-murthy-how-we-can-81773728/

Details on tomorrow’s virtual event are below.

Bridging Faith and Science to Combat the Overdose Crisis

WHEN: 3:00-4:00 p.m. EDT
WHO: President Bill Clinton; Founder and Board Chair, Clinton Foundation; 42nd President of the
United States
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent
Bishop Vashti McKenzie, African Methodist Episcopal Church
Dr. David Satcher, 16th Surgeon General of the United States; Founder and Senior Adviser, Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine
H.E. Dr. Mohammad Abdulkarim Al-Issa; Chairman of The Centre for Responsible Leadership
Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, ScM; Dean, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

For more information and to watch the virtual event tomorrow, visit: https://www.jhsph.edu/events/2021/bridging-faith-and-science-to-combat-the-overdose-crisis/

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About the Clinton Foundation

Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation on the simple belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. For nearly two decades, those values have energized the work of the Foundation in overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world.

As an operating foundation, we work on issues directly or with strategic partners from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. Our programs are designed to make a real difference today while serving as proven models for tomorrow. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster – at the lowest possible cost.

We firmly believe that when diverse groups of people bring resources together in the spirit of true cooperation, transformative ideas will emerge to drive life-changing action.

Learn more at http://www.clintonfoundation.org, on Facebook at Facebook.com/ClintonFoundation, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.

About the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Founded in 1916 as part of the Johns Hopkins University, the Bloomberg School of Public Health is the world's oldest and largest independent school of public health. Every day, the Bloomberg School works to keep millions safe from illness and injury by pioneering new research, deploying its knowledge and expertise in the field, and educating tomorrow's scientists and practitioners in the global defense of human life. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bloomberg School experts are offering science- and evidence-based insights at https://www.jhsph.edu/covid-19/ and via the School’s Public Health On Call podcast series.

About The Centre for Responsible Leadership

The Centre for Responsible Leadership is dedicated to assembling global thought leaders to find sustainable solutions to the major challenges plaguing our world today and drive their rapid adoption. The world needs leadership now, and we must all do our part. Join us – https://www.thecrl.org