2005 Fred T. Foard, Jr. Memorial Lecture:


Dr. David L. Heymann
Representative of the Director General for Polio Eradication

World Health Organization

April 20th, 2005

About The Speaker:

Dr. David L. Heymann

Executive Director, Communicable Diseases

The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, appointed Dr. David L. Heymann, Executive Director, Communicable Diseases, effective 21 July 1998. In this post, Dr. Heymann will be responsible for the elimination of leprosy; the control of tropical diseases; emerging and other communicable diseases surveillance and control; tuberculosis; the prevention of blindness and deafness; and research and training in tropical diseases. Dr. Heymann has solid experience from many years of work in many parts of the world and in creating new mechanisms to help the international community address the threats from new and emerging diseases.

Dr. David L. Heymann was born in Pennsylvania, USA, in 1946.

Dr. Heymann holds a Bachelor of Arts from the Pennsylvania State University, an M.D. from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has also completed practical epidemiology training in the two year Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) training programme of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta). At the time of his appointment, Dr. Heymann was the Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Programme on Emerging and other Communicable Diseases. Prior to becoming Director of this programme he was the chief of research activities in the Global Programme on AIDS. From 1976 to 1989 prior to joining WHO, Dr. Heymann spent thirteen years working as a medical epidemiologist in sub-Saharan Africa (Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, the former Zaire and Malawi) on assignment from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There, he worked in CDC-supported activities aimed at strengthening capacity in surveillance of infectious diseases and their control, with special emphasis on the childhood immunizable diseases, African haemorrhagic fevers, pox viruses and malaria. While based in Africa Dr. Heymann participated in the investigation of the first outbreak of Ebola in Yambuku (former Zaire) in 1976, then again investigated the second outbreak of Ebola in 1977 in Tandala, and in 1995 directed the international response to the Ebola outbreak in Kikwit. Prior to 1976, Dr. Heymann spent two years in India as a medical officer in the WHO Smallpox Eradication Programme.

Dr. David Heymann is married and has three children.

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