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Perspectives in Global Development: Spring 2023 Seminar Series


Phillip Polakoff, Founder and CEO of A Healthier We, will share how his 45-year career in health care has contributed to equity in rural health. The talk will explore a holistic definition of health, the core challenges that rural communities face in accessing health care, and how grassroots and government advocates can work together to provide sustainable solutions. Polakoff will also discuss how his degrees in rural sociology and public health impacted his career trajectory in rural health care and advocacy. The talk will be moderated by Lori Leonard, Chair of Global Development at Cornell University.

About the speaker

Dr. Polakoff’s distinguished career in health and health care spans forty-five years and includes clinical services, product innovation, network development, care management, organizational and business enhancement, policy formulation, communications and financing. He is a health transformation advisor, and previously has worked in product and network development, care management, organizational and business development, policy formulation, communications and financing. He serves as the founder and CEO of A Healthier We, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing critical issues of rural health.

Dr. Polakoff’s previous positions have included being short listed for US Surgeon General, Senior Managing Director of publicly traded consulting firms, advisor to numerous payers, providers, investors, employers, labor organizations and public entities. Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Total Health Advocacy Partners (Thap!). He has produced numerous health-related media productions. Including videos being aired as Phil Polakoff MD-Thrive Global. For many years Dr. Polakoff and his wife, Nancy Pfund, have been integral advisors to the Center.

About the seminar series

The Perspectives in Global Development seminars are held Wednesdays from 12:25 – 1:15 p.m. eastern time during the semester. The series will be presented in a hybrid format with some speakers on campus and others appearing via Zoom. All seminars are shown in Emerson Hall 135. Students, faculty and the general public are welcome to attend. The series is co-sponsored by the Department of Global Development, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the School of Integrative Plant Science as part of courses GDEV 4961, AEM 4961, NTRES 4961, GDEV 6960, AEM 6960, and NTRES 6960. 

Date & Time

March 22, 2023
1:29 am - 1:29 am

Headshot of Phillip Polakoff

More information about this event.

Contact Information

Jenna LaMendola, Admin assistant, Global Development

  • JLaMendola [at]


Department of Global Development

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