80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin

#12 - Dr Cameron works to stop you dying in a pandemic. Here’s what keeps her up at night.

80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin

“When you're in the middle of a crisis and you have to ask for money, you're already too late.”

That’s Dr Beth Cameron, who leads Global Biological Policy and Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

Beth should know. She has years of experience preparing for and fighting the diseases of our nightmares, on the White House Ebola Taskforce, in the National Security Council staff, and as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs.

Summary, list of career opportunities, extra links to learn more and coaching application.

Unfortunately, the countries of the world aren’t prepared for a crisis - and like children crowded into daycare, there’s a good chance something will make us all sick at once.

During past pandemics countries have dragged their feet over who will pay to contain them, or struggled to move people and supplies where they needed to be. At the same time advanced biotechnology threatens to make it possible for terrorists to bring back smallpox - or create something even worse.

In this interview we look at the current state of play in disease control, what needs to change, and how you can build the career capital necessary to make those changes yourself. That includes:

* What and where to study, and where to begin a career in pandemic preparedness. Below you’ll find a lengthy list of people and places mentioned in the interview, and others we’ve had recommended to us.
* How the Nuclear Threat Initiative, with just 50 people, collaborates with governments around the world to reduce the risk of nuclear or biological catastrophes, and whether they might want to hire you.
* The best strategy for containing pandemics.
* Why we lurch from panic, to neglect, to panic again when it comes to protecting ourselves from contagious diseases.
* Current reform efforts within the World Health Organisation, and attempts to prepare partial vaccines ahead of time.
* Which global health security groups most impress Beth, and what they’re doing.
* What new technologies could be invented to make us safer.
* Whether it’s possible to help solve the problem through mass advocacy.
* Much more besides.

Get free, one-on-one career advice to improve biosecurity

Considering a relevant grad program like a biology PhD, medicine, or security studies? Able to apply for a relevant job already? We’ve helped dozens of people plan their careers to work on pandemic preparedness and put them in touch with mentors. If you want to work on the problem discussed in this episode, you should apply for coaching:

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