From Eradicating The Worst Epidemic In Human History To Solving Every Global Health Issue, Meet Dr Larry Brilliant
Dr Larry Brilliant
“It takes all of us to bend the arc of moral Universe towards Justice “ Dr Larry Brilliant.
May 5, 1944, Detroit, Michigan, a physician , an epidemiologist , a technologist, a writer and a depressed student turned a brilliant doctor and social helper Larry (Lawrence) Brilliant who is in fact brilliant was born. At the age of 19 Larry was victim of depression and engulfed by grief by the thought of losing his father to cancer.
One fine day he gathered the courage to come out and went to listen to a preacher ,Martin Luther King Jr. who was there to talk about hope, justice and truth in an auditorium which saw only 60 presentees. A discussion which was supposed to last for an hour lasted for six log hours and had a magical effect on Larry. The session boosted Larry’s morale and made him feel motivated and active.
“[King] famously talked about the arc of the moral universe that would bend towards justice, but it wouldn’t bend on its own. You have to jump up, drag it, twist it, pull it down towards justice. You have to influence that arc,” Brilliant said.
Now were the times of transformation for Larry who gathering all his inspiration along started marching in Civil rallies. In 1969, a group of American Indians from many different tribes, calling themselves Indians of All Tribes, occupied the Alcatraz island in San Francisco. It is then a call was made for a doctor to help a pregnant woman deliver and Brilliant joined the group to lend medical aid.
With a MPH degree from University of Michigan and a MD his help to the tribes made him a eye candy for Media and opportunities came pouring in. He was offered a role of a doctor in the Woodstock Nation sequel- Medicine Ball Caravan. Some part the film was supposed to be in India and that is how he winded up in India. He along with his friends took a bus to drive around Europe and eventually ended up helping victims of 1970 Bhola cyclone in Bangladesh.
Larry came in contact with a sage in the Himalayas in India under whom he studied for several years namely Neem Karoli Baba. A long period of study and guidance by the sage directed him to help the world, and specifically to help eradicate smallpox. The holy man predicted Larry to help million of families suffering from smallpox in India. Following this he joined the WHO as a medical officer in 1980 in the smallpox eradication program after being rejected 13 times. There were people from all races and countries involved in the program counting to 170.
“In the middle of the Cold War, Russians and Americans worked together to eradicate smallpox, and the people sitting around the table were from every race, every religion, every language you could think of,” Brilliant said.
And in 1975 , Larry saw the last case of smallpox of a girl named Rahima Banu. This was just a start and the society was to witness more of a medical and thoughtful prodigy. In 1978, Larry founded Seva, giving eyesight to around 3 million people and helping to set up Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, India. In 2005 he spent half the year volunteering in Sri Lanka for tsunami victims and simultaneously working with WHO organization in India to eradicate polio. In 2006, he became Executive Director of Google.org and held the position till 2009 , after which he joined the Skoll foundation. He was also awarded TED prize in 2006.
“I used to tell my students when I was a professor, always expect the imponderabilia. That’s a made-up word,” Brilliant said. “It’s a little creature that comes upon you when you least expect it and whispers in your ear something you haven’t thought of. Always expect that little-unexpected twist. Always be willing to listen.”
A savior for human health issues Larry is undoubtedly the hero among the people and an asset to the world. In his efforts to completely eliminate global pandemics Dr. Brilliant rose the hopes of humanity. He has always suggested to make efforts to twist and bend the arc because it won’t of its own.
From being a patient of depression and fear to becoming the knight in shining armour for the humanity Dr Larry Brilliant has made miraculous contributions and bent the arc of history towards justice and achieved the goal of ensuring public health.