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Foreword During more than five decades as an artist and performer on the world stage, I have been extremely blessed to visit dozens of nations and meet tens of thousands of amazing people of all religions and ethnic backgrounds. Connecting with people from all walks of life has been an energizing life force and an inspiration for my work. But I have also witnessed a dark side to our big and beautiful planet, namely, the dehumanizing effects of severe poverty. For me, there is nothing more devastating than seeing parents who cannot afford to care for or feed their children or seeing the desperate homeless. In response, I have tried to give back to those most in need. Through our Cher Charitable Foundation, we have helped the poorest people living in Armenia as well as children with craniofacial deformities, head and neck diseases, and neglected diseases such as pediatric AIDS and cerebral malaria. Most recently, through our support of the Peace Village School in Shikamana , Kenya, hundreds of orphans and other vulnerable children are getting a fresh start. We are beginning to make a difference. Aside from the challenges of being poor, it must also be especially disheartening to be poor and to live alongside great wealth. It’s a terrible thing to live as a “have not” next to a “have.” Yet in communities across America, more than one million families must survive on practically no money and barely scratch out an existence. These same destitute families usually live within a few miles or even a few blocks from those with enormous wealth and privilege. Now, with the latest findings of Dr. Peter Hotez, we realize there’s a new dimension to extreme poverty. In the United States, or indeed anywhere Hotez.indb 9 6/22/16 11:02 AM x Foreword where wealthy people live, including Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America, Peter finds an astonishing but mostly hidden level of poverty and suffering. He has discovered that most of the poverty-­ related diseases, sometimes known as the neglected tropical diseases, or NTDs, actually occur in the wealthiest countries and economies. Our old concept of global health—developed versus less developed countries–is morphing. In its place, the NTDs are abundant wherever you find hardship. We now learn that it doesn’t matter much if that poverty is in Lagos, Luanda, Lahore, La Paz, or Los Angeles. Peter’s framework, which he names “blue marble health,” means that the NTDs will be found regardless of location as long as there are places or regions where people live in desperate circumstances . Blue marble health has important implications for both global public health and public policy. Peter finds that if the elected leaders of the most powerful nations would simply recognize and support their own impoverished and neglected populations, a majority of our most ancient and terrible scourges could vanish. I hope this book is an inspiration to young people thinking about a future career in the sciences, the humanities, or in the health professions. I also hope that the concept of blue marble health will inspire our global leaders to take charge of their own vulnerable populations who have neglected diseases. Currently, more than a billion people live with no money and suffer from horrific NTDs. The fact that they are mostly hidden away and forgotten in wealthy countries is inexcusable. This must be fixed. Cher Malibu, California Hotez.indb 10 6/22/16 11:02 AM ...


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MARC Record
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