Dr. William Foege

Senior Fellow, Health Policy

The Carter Center

Dr. Foege is an epidemiologist who worked in the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. Dr. Foege became chief of the Smallpox Eradication Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was appointed director of the CDC in 1977. He attended Pacific Lutheran University, received his medical degree from the University of Washington and his master’s degree in public health from Harvard University.

In 1984, Dr. Foege and several colleagues formed the Task Force for Child Survival, a working group for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, The World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Dr. Foege joined The Carter Center in 1986 as its executive director. In January 1997, he joined the faculty of Emory University, where he is presidential distinguished professor of international health at the Rollins School of Public Health. From 1999–2001, Dr. Foege served as a senior medical advisor for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Foege has championed many issues, but child survival and development, preventive medicine, and public health leadership are of special interest. He is a strong proponent of disease eradication and control and has taken an active role in the campaigns aimed at the eradication of Guinea worm, polio, and measles and the elimination of river blindness. By writing and lecturing extensively, Dr. Foege has succeeded in broadening public awareness of these issues and bringing them to the forefront of domestic and international health policies.

Dr. Foege has received many awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. He holds honorary degrees from numerous institutions and was named a fellow of the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1997. He has written more than 125 professional publications.