S. Wright Caughman

S. Wright Caughman

On the cover of our issue, two children are learning about how to prevent Guinea worm disease. The photo was taken when Sadia Mesuna and Fatawu Yakubu were 6 and undergoing treatment for the painful disease, which is contracted by drinking contaminated water. For two months each morning at a case containment center in Ghana, health care workers would gently tug emerging worms from the children’s bodies, wrapping the worms taut around a stick. During the long process, Sadia nor Fatawu lived at the center and were unable to go to school or work. “It feels more painful than stepping on fire coals or being cut,” remembers Sadia of that time.

For the past 20 years, The Carter Center of Emory University has been working to eradicate Guinea worm worldwide, and it is now very close to success—from 3.5 million cases down to only thousands (most of them in war-torn Southern Sudan). It has done so with the help of partners at the CDC, Emory, WHO, UNICEF, and many others. Through this effort, Guinea worm is poised to be only the second disease—after smallpox—ever eradicated.

That goes to show what can happen when global health partners work together, when people with varied expertise come together to tackle an age-old problem like Guinea worm. It also applies to partners who forge unexplored territory like the newly emerging field of bioinformatics, also featured in this issue.

At the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, we are proud to lend support to such issues at home and abroad. We are fortunate to have President Jimmy Carter as a frequent teacher in our classrooms and The Carter Center as our collaborator. We are lucky to have researchers who draw on a worldwide network to bring solutions and innovations to complicated health challenges. I am thankful to lead a center that has the people, partners, and dedication to continually seek to improve people’s health whether at the population level or for individuals like Sadia.

S. Wright Caughman
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs

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