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Professor David Heymann

Chair of the Health Protection Agency

Dr David L. Heymann is currently chair of the Health Protection Agency, United Kingdom, Head of the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House, London and Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Until April 2009 he was Assistant Director-General for Health Security Environment and Representative of the Director-General for Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization (WHO). Prior to that, from July 1998 until July 2003, he was Executive Director of the WHO Communicable Diseases Cluster which included WHO’s programmes on infectious and tropical diseases, and from which the public health response to SARS was mounted in 2003.  From October 1995 to July 1998, he was Director of the WHO Programme on Emerging and other Communicable Diseases, and prior to that was the Chief of research activities in the WHO Global Programme on AIDS. Dr Heymann has worked in the area of public health for the past 35 years, 25 of which were on various assignments from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 10 of which have been with the World Health Organization (WHO).


Before joining WHO, Dr Heymann worked for thirteen years as a medical epidemiologist in sub-Saharan Africa (Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo – formerly Zaire) on assignment from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in CDC-supported activities. Dr Heymann's educational qualifications include a B.A. from the Pennsylvania State University, an M.D. from Wake Forest University, a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and practical epidemiology training in the two year Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) of CDC. He is  a member of the Institute of Medicine of the United States National Academies and the Academy of Medical Sciences (United Kingdom), and has been awarded the 2004 Award for Excellence from the American Public Health Association, the 2005 Donald Mackay Award from the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the 2007 Heinz Award on the Human Condition. In 2009 he was appointed an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to global public health.

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