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February 14, 2019

Loyce Pace: A Lobbyist for Good

By Rachel Edwards

Loyce Pace, president and executive director of the Global Health Council (GHC), shared her work at Georgetown University on February 12, 2019. Armed with a degree in science from Stanford University, Pace developed a passion for addressing global health needs in her hometown of Los Angeles. She drew insight from her groundwork in over 10 countries as she engaged with populations in schools, hospitals, and even laundromats. Understanding the lives behind the “dollars and cents,” or health statistics that are the standard focus of negotiations in Washington, D.C., has driven Pace into advocacy work. 

During her talk, Pace affirmed that she did not start out with a career in public health in mind. She began with “a career in education that eventually morphed into community outreach, trainings, and mobilization,” according to her Q&A with Women in Global Health. Unlike many leaders in her field, Pace did not work for the federal government or move to Washington, D.C., after school. Instead, she spread her services across the globe, searching for opportunities to uplift the health outcomes of people in developing countries; such direct exposure still serves as the motivation for her ongoing work in advocacy.

As I began my own studies at Georgetown, like Pace, I thought I would be graduating with a plan set for medical school. Similar to Pace, I have been drawn instead towards social determinants of health and policy as avenues through which my education and curiosity may serve public health outcomes best. My favorite courses have investigated the interdisciplinary facets of healthcare, touching on the collaborative power of corporations and Capitol Hill to maximize funding and research needed to serve communities globally.

Reflecting on Pace’s unique pathway toward her current role at the GHC, I am reassured that the most reliable guide to a successful career is not necessarily a chronological plan set in the beginning, but a commitment to a cause and an open mind to new ways that may materialize. Additionally, an understanding of who to speak up for on various health issues is developed through working with those communities directly and building trust first.

The U.S. government "is the largest funder and implementer of global health programs worldwide,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The impact of such incredible resources is realized through the GHC’s efforts to bring those with health aid solutions to the attention of policymakers. Pace recognizes the need to “speak both languages,” addressing the motivation of companies and Congress to give back to society while maximizing profit. According to Pace, such business and humanitarian goals should not be in opposition but a cohesive union. 

However, proposed budget cuts for Fiscal Year 2019 will reduce U.S. global health funding to $8.3 billion, potentially reaching a low not seen in the past decade. Now more than ever, Pace’s platform must prioritize the greatest needs in global health, whether that entails revitalizing existing programs or addressing new issues that have largely been overlooked by Congress.

“I like to describe us as lobbyists for good,” Pace says of the GHC. “New lawmakers need something to get behind, and we need to give it to them.” Streamlining the causes these policy makers already care about with global and local health agendas can counter budget cuts and secure advancements in health for decades.

Rachel Edwards (COL’20) is a junior in the College studying biology of global health.

This blog was written by a student in Georgetown’s Conversations in Global Health course, which brings leaders in global health to Georgetown to discuss their careers and work.