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Dr Joel Breman

Scientist Emeritus, Fogarty International Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health


Joel G. Breman, M.D., D.T.P.H., F.I.D.S.A., is Scientist Emeritus, Fogarty International Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Dr. Breman's recent research has defined the considerable burden of malaria and development of policies and practices to conquer this disease.  He was educated at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Keck School of Medicine, the University of Southern California; and LSHTM. He trained in medicine at the University of Southern California - Los Angeles County Medical Center; in infectious diseases at the Boston City Hospital, Harvard Medical School; and in epidemiology at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Breman was the CDC/USAID Chief of Party in Guinea for the West and Central African Smallpox Eradication-Measles Control Program (1967-69).  In Burkina Faso, at the Organization for Coordination and Cooperation in the Control of the Major Endemic Diseases (OCCGE, 1972-1976), he was Chief of the Epidemiology Section doing research on vaccine preventable diseases, monkeypox, malaria, and strengthening infectious diseases surveillance systems in eight West African francophone countries.  At the World Health Organization, Geneva (1977-80), Dr. Breman was responsible for coordinating certification of smallpox eradication, orthopoxvirus research, and increase in security and decrease in number of laboratories retaining variola (smallpox) virus. In 1976, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), Dr. Breman investigated the first outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever as part of an International Commission for which he received the Order of the Leopard, the highest award given by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to non-citizens. Following the confirmation of smallpox eradication in 1980, Dr. Breman returned to the CDC where he began working full time on the epidemiology and control of malaria. Dr. Breman joined the Fogarty International Center in 1995 and has been director of the International Training and Research Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases and other institutional strengthening, research training programs in low-income countries.


“LSHTM has had a tremendous impact on me.  Having been awarded a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Career Development Award for study anywhere, I went to London to learn about malaria with the world’s masters.  My professor, and Director at the Ross Institute, was Leonard Bruce-Chwatt who became a valued friend and mentor.  He had unsurpassed experience in the field, at WHO, and in academia.  Other eminent malariologists who could teach well, based on personal experience included George Davidson (entomology, genetics), CC Draper (epidemiology, serology, and control), and Patrick Hamilton (clinical, public health, epidemiology).  David Bradley was yet to return to the School and Brian Greenwood was just beginning his work in Nigeria.”


“Being an alumnus has linked me over the years to many eminent friends in my class (particularly Pram Senanayake Sri Lanka;  Peter Scheiber, Germany), those in other degree programs matriculating concurrently (Paul Fine, LSHTM; Tom Strickland, UMaryland; Adel Mahmoud, Case Western), and past and current faculty members (Brian Greenwood, Anne Mills, Kevin de Cock, Geoff Targett, Harrison Spencer; Peter Piot).  Frankly, for many years I had little contact with the School.  Only with the rather recent formation of the Alumni Society have I had a chance to learn more about the marvelous progress being made at the School.”


“Contributions from LSHTM alumni are huge.  Leaders in public health, science, and new health systems and economics are coming out of the school in droves according to the alumni bulletin and my personal knowledge of the infectious diseases, malaria, and health policy units at the School.  In the U.S. several from the CDC went on to distinguished careers: Donald Millar, stayed at CDC; Karl Western went to PAHO and NIH;  David Brandling-Bennett went to PAHO, WHO, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation;  Adel Mahmoud became Department Chair at Case Western University, President of Merck Vaccines, and Professor at Princeton University.  These are just a few.”

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