Climate, Poverty and Health: Biography of Larry Brilliant

July 9, 2012, 8:34 pm
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Series: The John H. Chafee Memorial Lecture on Science and the Environment
7th National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment
Speaker: Larry Brilliant, M.D., M.P.H., Founder, Seva Foundation and Executive Director,
Date: February 1, 2007
Location: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, DC


caption Larry Brilliant, M.D., M.P.H.


Larry Brilliant, M.D., M.P.H., is the Executive Director of In this role, Larry works with the company’s co­founders to define the mission and strategic goals of Google’s philanthropic efforts., the umbrella organization for these efforts, includes the Google Foundation as well as Google Grants (the AdWords giving pro­gram) and the company’s major initiatives aimed at reducing global poverty, improving the health of the least advantaged in the world, and working to halt or even reverse the effects of the climate crisis.

Dr. Brilliant is board-­certified in preventive medicine and public health. He is a founder and director of the Seva Foundation, which works in dozens of countries around the world, primarily to eliminate preventable and curable blindness. He also serves as a member of strate­gic advisory committees for the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health; Omidyar Network; and Kleiner Perkins (KPCB) Venture Capital.

In addition to his medical career, Dr. Brilliant co-­founded The Well, a pioneering virtual community, with Stewart Brand in 1985. He also holds a telecommunications technology patent and has served as CEO of two public companies and other venture-­backed start­ups.

The author of two books and dozens of articles on infectious diseases, blindness, and international health policy, Dr. Brilliant has worked at city, county, state, federal, and inter­national levels. He was recently a “first responder” for CDC’s smallpox bio-­terrorism response effort, volunteered in Sri Lanka for tsunami relief, and established “Pandefense,” an interdis­ciplinary consultancy to prepare for possible pandemic influenza. He lived in India working as a United Nations medical officer for more than a decade, where he played a key role in the successful World Health Organization (WHO) smallpox eradication program, and has recent­ly worked for the WHO polio eradication effort as well. He was associate professor of epi­demiology, global health planning, and economic development at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Brilliant earned a Master’s in Public Health in health planning and economic devel­opment from the University of Michigan and received his M.D. from Wayne University Medical School. He has received several awards from the government of India and from the WHO. In 2005 he received an honorary Doctorate of Sciences from Knox College and was named “International Public Health Hero” by the University of California. In February 2006 he received the Sapling Foundation’s Technology Entertainment Design (TED) Prize.


This is a chapter from Climate, Poverty and Health: Time for Preventive Medicine (Lecture).
Previous: Appendix I: Biography of Senator John H. Chafee  |  Table of Contents  |  Next: Acknowledgments




Environment, N. (2012). Climate, Poverty and Health: Biography of Larry Brilliant. Retrieved from


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