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June 28, 2002


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Creates International Fellowships to Honor Dr. William Foege

Seattle - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced the establishment of the William H. Foege Fellowships in Global Health to honor the career and achievements of one of the world's leading figures in public health. Supported by a $5 million endowment, the new fellowship program will be housed in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, where Dr. Foege holds an appointment as Presidential Distinguished Professor.

Beginning in the Fall of 2003, four Foege Fellows per year from developing countries will study at Emory University for one to two years. The fellows will be mid-career professionals who will return to governmental or nongovernmental health agencies in their own countries after residence in Atlanta. They will be chosen on the basis of their potential for leadership and their commitment to public health.

During their time at Emory, the Fellows will be expected to develop lasting partnerships with mentors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Carter Center, and Care USA, which, along with Emory's Rollins School, have helped to establish Atlanta as one of the world's leading centers for public health. Over the course of his career, Dr. Foege served as director of the CDC, Executive Director of The Carter Center, and a member of the CARE board, in addition to his service on the faculty at Emory.

Fellows will be issued a laptop computer when they begin the program and trained in information retrieval and email. When they leave, they will be encouraged to take their laptops with them and maintain the relationships they have developed in the U.S. via the Internet.

"Bill Foege has devoted his life to ensuring that others can enjoy full and healthy lives. His achievements remind us that investing in health is a critical first step to improving the social and economic well-being of millions of people around the world," said Bill Gates Sr., Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "I can think of no better way to honor him than to encourage and train others to continue the work he pioneered."

"Bill Foege is one of those rare individuals who combines brilliant science with a moral vision that inspires everyone around him to work harder and accomplish more," said James W. Curran, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the Rollins School of Public Health. "It's hard to think of an area in public health that he has not touched and improved in some way. We are honored to know that thanks to the generosity of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, future generations of public health leaders from around the world will follow in Bill Foege's footsteps at Emory."

William H. Foege, M.D., M.P.H., serves as Senior Medical Advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Program. He was honored in September 2001 with the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service in Support of Medical Research and Health Sciences, a highly coveted prize often referred to as "America's Nobel" because of its importance in the biomedical research community. Dr. Foege was recognized for "his courageous leadership in improving worldwide public health, and his pivotal role in eradicating smallpox and preventing river blindness."

Dr. Foege received his M.D. from the University of Washington Medical School in 1961 and his M.P.H. from Harvard University in 1965. He worked as a medical missionary in Eastern Nigeria, where he developed a surveillance and containment strategy that changed the worldwide approach to smallpox vaccination and eventually led to the disease's eradication in the 1970s under his leadership of the Smallpox Eradication Program. He served as a medical officer for the World Health Organization in India, then joined the CDC as assistant to the director. He was director of the CDC from 1977 to 1983.

From 1984 to 2000 Dr. Foege served as executive director of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, which helped raise general immunization levels of the world's children from 20 percent to 80 percent in just six years and created a successful program to overcome river blindness. He served The Carter Center as executive director, a fellow for health policy, and executive director of Global 2000, aimed at improving agricultural yields in developing countries and eradicating the Guinea worm. He was appointed Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory in 1997.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people's lives by sharing advances in health and learning with the global community. Led by Bill Gates' father, William H. Gates Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation has an asset base of $23.4 billion. For complete information, visit

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