February’s luncheon offered one a graduate brother who is a “rock-star” in the academic achievement arena. Craig Rubens ’74 followed his studious undergraduate days at the University of Washington with the study of Immunology and Microbiology at Columbia where he earned his PhD. The study bug was still under his skin, so he then attended the School of Medicine at the University of South Carolina.
In July of 1984 he joined the staff at Children’s Hospital (called Children’s Orhopedic Hospital or COH back in those days). Craig’s has enjoyed an illustrious career in pediatrics at Children’s, and this foundational experience has led to his current position as the Executive Director of a global research effort touting the goal to reduce and prevent premature and still births.
This global research effort offers this far reaching title: “Global Alliance to Prevent Prematruity and Stillbirth (GAPPS)”. It is a far-reaching and ambitious initiative led by Seattle Children’s.
Craig engaged the crowd by asking members of each table to offer examples of significant changes in the past 40 years. The responses were revealing — copy machine, fax machine, cell phone, internet, laptop, etc. After reviewing these great technological advances, Craig put in perspective that his field has seen great advances for keeping people alive. BUT there have not been corresponding advances in preventing the problems. Little work has been done to improve the outcome of pregnancy.
Each year around the world there are 130 million births of which 10% are pre-term and an additional 4 million die at birth / stillborn. The GAPPS goal is to spawn research around the world that will improve the outcome of pregnancy. Craig cited information that a drop in birth-related mortality will result in a reduction of birth rate. Thus it can be said that a more predictable outcome with pregnancy can actually result in less pregnancies and less births.
Funding for GAPPS has come from UNICEF, the Gates Foundation, and others
We thank Craig for a most interesting presentation.