Faces in the Field: Why our Work Matters

Faces in the field

Sometimes when you’re in the midst of a really difficult work challenge, or dealing with mundane day-to-day tasks, it’s easy to lose sight of what drives you, or how your work contributes to the greater good.

I found myself in that situation recently as I sifted through the CDC Foundation’s photo files, looking for the faces behind our lifesaving programs as part of a communications assignment. There was the scientist in Puerto Rico diligently screening samples for Zika virus; the toddler, safe from malaria, sleeping peacefully under a bed net; the CDC Foundation program team lead, on the ground in Burkina Faso, surrounded by children during her field visit for a crucial meningitis surveillance project; kids enjoying a happy moment on a U.S. playground; and a proud student at a girls' school in Kenya whose education was made possible through a CDC Foundation fund—and that was just for starters.

What really struck me as I was looking through these photos was the role of our many generous donors who are the driving force behind our hundreds of programs at home and around the world. I often read GatesNotes and the Gates Foundation annual letters for inspiration. In one annual letter, Bill Gates described the advice philanthropist Warren Buffett gave him about philanthropy: “Don’t just go for safe projects.Take on the really tough problems."

At the CDC Foundation, we work with our donors and partners to help CDC tackle some of the world’s toughest health problems, not just the safe projects. And it’s not easy work. Yet it is incredibly rewarding to be a part of a mission that is so much bigger than any of us could ever take on alone. 

When I think about entire communities who are safer because of our lifesaving partnerships, and the CDC experts who literally put their own lives on the line to protect others, it inspires me to do more, give more and think in new ways about how we can help CDC contribute to a safer, healthier world now, and in the future. You can check out many more “faces in the field” on our Instagram account. For me, each image is a vivid reminder of how together our impact is greater.

Photos ©David Snyder/CDC Foundation, ©Evelyn Hockstein/CDC Foundation

Lisa Splitlog is a senior advisor in the Office of the President and CEO for the CDC Foundation.