Athens, Ga. – Stanley Foster, a public health practitioner who lived the story of smallpox eradication, opens the 5th annual “Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard” lecture series on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. in the University of Georgia Chapel.The UGA series features heroes in the global battle against premature death and disease.
In his lecture on “Our Global Village: Inequities, Social Justice and Empowerment of Communities,” Foster will share how he has devoted his life to combating preventable diseases among children.
Foster is a professor in the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. After graduating from Williams College in 1955 and the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 1960, he spent two years asa Centers for Disease Control epidemic intelligence officer assigned to the Indian Health Service in Arizona.
While his main responsibilitywas to examine 10,000 school children per year for trachoma (25 percent were positive), he also had the opportunity to investigate other health emergencies as they arose including plague, rabies, measles, shigella, food poisoning, keratoconjuntivitis, and rotavirus.
In 1966, Foster was invited to join the CDC’s new Smallpox Eradication Program. He spent four years in Nigeria and four years in Bangladesh working with national health workers to eradicate smallpox.In 1975, he helped treat the world’s last case of smallpox. In 1977, he spent three months living with nomads in Somalia (the last smallpox epidemic country in the world).
From 1980 to 1994, Foster worked with the International Health Program Office at the CDC on its Combating Childhood Communicable Disease Project.He worked with 12 African countries to improve the health and survival of children under five by strengthening their capacity to prevent and treat diseases.
“We focused on prevention (immunization, malaria chemoprphylaxis of women); case management of the three priority killers of children (malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea) and in strengthening their preventive and curative systems,” he recalled.
In 1982, he received a master’s of public health from Emory University and has been teaching courses there such as policies in global health, strategies in international health, and evidence-based health planning since 1994.
The “Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard” lecture series is a joint effort of Patricia Thomas, UGA’s Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Daniel G. Colley, director of UGA’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. For additional information, see www.grady.uga.edu/knighthealth.