Can This Year's Feel-Good Movie Also Do Good?

03/28/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

For the millions of children who live in the world's poorest communities, like Slumdog Millionaire's Jamal Malik, just making it to adulthood is a real challenge.

As it makes its victory rounds, the real test of Slumdog Millionaire is whether this year's undisputed feel-good movie is able to move hearts and minds to improve conditions for the poorest among us.

OneWorld Health, the country's first nonprofit pharmaceutical company which develops lifesaving medicines for the world's poor, launched a campaign today that channels the energy and enthusiasm behind Slumdog Millionaire to raise awareness for neglected diseases and the need to provide poor families in developing countries with essential medicines.

We kicked off efforts with a full page ad in Monday's New York Times -- viewable online at: -- and will soon unveil online advertising, social media initiatives and visibility activities in partnership with other global health leaders.

Over one billion people a year suffer from neglected diseases and it is poor children like the film's characters who are most likely to die from preventable and treatable diseases.

Let's be honest: for a feel-good movie, watching Slumdog Millionaire doesn't feel very good until the end of the film. Watching the characters trying to survive lives of abject poverty in India's slums is painful, but everyone who was captivated and moved by the film can take responsibility for helping to change the lives of those portrayed in it.

OneWorld Health is encouraging Slumdog fans to visit, learn how we are developing lifesaving drugs for the world's poor, and make a contribution -- however small -- to help save even more lives.

These days, nobody feels rich. But even a small contribution to OneWorld Health, or another organization serving neglected populations, can make everyday Americans feel like millionaires.

How the Western world channels its enthusiasm for Slumdog Millionaire into meaningful action will be the test of whether this feel-good movie can do good, too.