Dr. Larry Brilliant is the President of the Skoll Global Threats Fund and Senior Adviser to Jeff Skoll. In this role, Larry will develop the strategy and approach for the newly launched Fund, as well as advise Jeff Skoll on ways to leverage his various commercial and philanthropic entities to drive positive change on urgent social and environmental issues. Prior to joining Skoll, Larry served as the inaugural Executive Director of Google.org and, later, Chief Philanthropy Evangelist, working with the company’s cofounders to define the mission and strategic goals of Google’s philanthropic efforts. This included overseeing the Google Foundation, Google Grants, and the company’s other major social change initiatives.
Larry is an M.D. and M.P.H. who is board certified in preventive medicine and public health. He is a founder and director of The Seva Foundation, which works in dozens of countries around the world, primarily to eliminate preventable and curable blindness. Larry also serves as a member of strategic advisory committees for the Berkeley School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley; Omidyar Network; and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Venture Capital.
In addition to his medical career, Larry cofounded The Well, a pioneering virtual community, with Stewart Brand in 1985. He also holds a telecommunications technology patent and has served as CEO of two public companies and other venture-backed startups.
The author of two books and dozens of articles on infectious diseases, blindness and international health policy, Larry has worked at city, county, state, federal and international levels. He was recently a “first responder” for CDC’s smallpox bio-terrorism response effort, he has volunteered in Sri Lanka for tsunami relief, and he has established “Pandefense,” an interdisciplinary consultancy that aims to prepare for possible pandemic influenza. Larry lived in India while working as a United Nations medical officer for more than a decade, where he played a key role in the successful World Health Organization (WHO) smallpox eradication program. He recently worked for the WHO polio eradication effort as well. He was Associate Professor of epidemiology, global health planning and economic development at the University of Michigan.
Larry earned a Master in Public Health degree in health planning and economic development from the University of Michigan, and he received his M.D. from Wayne Medical School. He has received several awards from the Government of India and from WHO. In 2005 he received an honorary Doctor of Sciences degree from Knox College, and he was named “International Public Health Hero” by the University of California. In February 2006 he received the Sapling Foundation’s TED Prize.