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Bill Gates Recognizes Ana Mari Cauce as One of Six 2016 Favorite Fanatics

My Favorite Fanatics of 2016

 When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I was fanatical about software. By “fanatical” I mean that I was so focused on my vision of putting a computer on every desk and in every home that I gave up a normal existence. I didn’t take vacations or weekends off. I wasn’t interested in getting married. (Obviously, that changed when I met Melinda!) My colleagues and I at Microsoft took tremendous pride in being the first to arrive at work and the last to leave. It was an incredibly fun chapter of my life.

Now, much of my work involves learning from other fanatics. They are the scientists in search of new vaccines. Teachers working tirelessly to perfect their craft. Engineers dreaming up crazy ideas for new sources for clean energy. Being able to learn about their work and help them realize their dreams has opened up an amazing new chapter in my life.

Looking back over 2016, I had the opportunity to meet with many gifted individuals trying to change the world.  Their hard work and dedication fuel my optimism that our world’s best days are still ahead of us. Here are a few of my favorite fanatics. I hope they inspire you just as much as they have me.

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There’s an African proverb often cited at our foundation: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” That was the vision behind Dr. Ana Mari Cauce’s incredible effort at the University of Washington this year to unite researchers and resources from the university and beyond to help improve the health and well-being of people around the world. Dr. Cauce, the president of the University of Washington, saw the need to help the university’s medical school, school of public health, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, environmental scientists, and dozens of other partners to collaborate together more effectively around common health-related goals. The effort, called the Population Health Initiative, has incredible potential to unlock the power of health research and data for the benefit of all. “Being truly healthy means far more than simply being free from ailments and afflictions. When we assess health, we must also take into account the many other factors that affect well-being—poverty, discrimination, climate change and violence, to name just a few,” Dr. Cauce said during her announcement of the initiative. In October, our foundation awarded a $210 million grant to the university to fund the construction of a new building to house the Initiative and help foster greater collaboration. I’m eager to see what this visionary effort will mean for improving health worldwide.


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