Larry Brilliant, M.D.

Physician, epidemiologist, president of the Skoll Global Threats Fund

Larry Brilliant is an M.D. and M.P.H., board-certified in preventive medicine, epidemiology and public health. He is President of the Skoll Global Threats Fund and Advisor to, and to Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Systems and the Skoll family of Foundations. The Skoll Urgent Threats Fund does grant making and advocacy to help solve some of the most urgent threats of our time: climate change, nuclear weapons, water scarcity, emerging potential pandemics, and conflicts in the Middle East.

Larry was one of a four person international team that led the successful World Health Organization smallpox eradication program in India and South Asia where he lived for more than 10 years working on polio and blindness after smallpox was eradicated. He later founded The Seva Foundation of Berkeley, California, which works in dozens of countries around the world to eliminate preventable and curable blindness. Seva's projects have given back sight to nearly 3 million people. In 2008, Time magazine named Brilliant one of the 20 most influential scientists and thinkers and one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He served a three-year stint as the first Executive Director of, the company’s philanthropic arm before becoming Chief Philanthropy Evangelist for Google.

Brilliant co-founded The Well, a pioneering virtual community, with Stewart Brand in 1985. He also holds a telecom systems patent and has served as CEO of multiple public and venture-backed technology companies.

Earlier in his career, he was a professor of global health and epidemiology at the University of Michigan. He has authored two books, and dozens of scientific articles on smallpox, infectious diseases, pandemics, early warning systems, blindness, and international health policy and is currently writing a book for Harper-Collins on the world's most urgent threats and how to fight them.

He has received numerous awards including the Global Leadership Award by the United Nations Organization in 2008. In 2006, he received the TED Prize. He was named "International Public Health Hero" by the University of California in 2004. Larry worked in India for WHO for more than 10 years, on smallpox, blindness and polio. His polio work for WHO led him to the idea for a documentary, The Final Inch, which won an Oscar nomination in 2009.

After the September 11 attacks, and the anthrax bio-terror attacks which followed, Larry left corporate jobs to volunteer as a “first responder” for CDC’s smallpox bio-terrorism response effort. After the Christmas 2004 Tsunami, Larry volunteered to work in refugee camps and personally collected and carried financial contributions to refugee organizations in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. He currently chairs a task force created by Presidential directive, the National Biosurveillance Advisory Subcommittee.

He was elected to membership in the Council on Foreign Relations in 2009. He sits on the boards of The Skoll Foundation, Health Metrics Network, and Omidyar Networks Humanity United. He is an actively sought after speaker, and has received numerous other awards, prizes and honorary doctorates.

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