On April 19, 2023 the Hon. Mark Dybul, MD, the Executive Chairperson of Platform Life Sciences, was one of only two expert witnesses along with Sir Elton John to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) regarding the legislative renewal of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest international health initiative in history by one country to combat a single disease.
Dybul and PEPFAR
The program, which must be renewed every 5 years, was launched in 2003 and is credited with saving more than 25 million lives while spending more than $1 billion. It has been called “the most successful global health program in history.” (The Lancet, 2008).
Dybul is no stranger to the highest levels of global health policymaking. In 2002, when he was leading a section of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s laboratory at the National Institutes of Health, he was part of a small team of architects of PEPFAR. He went on to become the Assistant, Deputy and the US Global AIDS Coordinator with the rank of Ambassador and level of an Assistant Secretary of State. He went on to lead the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, that raises money from dozens of governments around the world as well as from the private sector, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It has saved more than 50 million lives. Dybul is the only person to have run both the Global Fund and PEPFAR.
More recently, he was the only USA member of the 15-person Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR) mandated by the World Health Assembly to review and make recommendations on the global response to the COVID-19.
The group was co-chaired by former President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark. It has remained active informally and former members continues to publish in leading public health and scientific journals.
In his various roles, he has testified frequently to Congress (including a previous stint with Elton in 2015), has published opinion pieces and has served on a number of public health commissions and advisory groups and has been a frequent invited speaker at major international conferences and high-level meetings the United Nations.
He is also a Board member of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, among others, and was elected to the prestigious US National Academy of Medicine in 2018.
For a quarter of a century, Dybul has conducted and funded clinical trials, and has been a global leader in translating data to life-saving public health policy.