Emory University public health professor Ruth Berkelman, MD, has been named an Ambassador in the Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research. She joins 51 of the nation's foremost global health experts who will band together to advocate for greater U.S. investment in global health research.
Research!America launched the Society to increase awareness of -- and make the case for greater U.S. investment in -- research to fight diseases that disproportionately affect the world's poorest nations. The Rogers Society is named for the former Florida Congressman, a renowned champion for research to improve health and current Research!America chair emeritus.
Members of this prestigious research advocacy team are recognized leaders in medical and global public health research and represent a spectrum of the nation's "scientist advocates." Selected by an advisory council that includes three Nobel Laureates, the Ambassadors will work to build a national discussion about the need to assign a high priority to global health research. Ambassadors also will meet with opinion leaders and decision makers to convey the importance of global health research to Americans and to the nation. The Paul G. Rogers Society was established with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"The rapid emergence of diseases such as extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis in more than 35 countries illustrates the critical need for global health research supported by both the public and private sectors," says Dr. Berkelman, Rollins School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research at Emory.
"Such research can assure that large-scale health programs are well implemented and that further progress is made in diagnostics, vaccines and other strategies to improve the health of those in impoverished nations as well as to prevent the emergence and spread of disease throughout the global community," Dr. Berkelman adds.
Dr. Berkelman is a public health leader who has long been at the forefront of the effort to prepare for the threat of emerging infectious diseases. She has been a member of the Rollins School of Public Health faculty since 2001, with a joint appointment in the Emory University School of Medicine.
In her former roles as assistant surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service and as deputy director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, she has confronted head on the critical need to develop strategies against the new and reemerging biological pathogens identified over the past two decades. She serves as chair of the American Society of Microbiology's Public and Scientific Affairs Board, and she is a member of the Institute of Medicine and its Forum on Emerging Infections. She also serves on the National Academies' Board of Life Sciences.
At Emory, Dr. Berkelman directs research teams, training programs and student response teams and collaborates with local, state and federal public health leaders, other academic medical centers and business leaders to prepare to respond to biologic and other threats.
Dr. Berkelman is the second Ambassador appointed from Emory. Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH, vice president for academic health affairs at Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center and director of the Emory Global Health Institute, was inducted in the inaugural class of the Rogers Society in 2006.
Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, it is supported by more than 500 member organizations, which represent more than 125 million Americans. For more information, visit www.researchamerica.org.