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Malaria battle headway topic of next Voices from the Vanguard lecture

Malaria battle headway topic of next Voices from the Vanguard lecture

Athens, Ga. – Progress in the fight against malaria will be the topic of the next “Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard” lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 5:30 p.m. in the University of Georgia Chapel.Bernard Nahlen, deputy coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative, will deliver an address titled Fighting Harder and Smarter Against Malaria.”

The UGA lecture series, now in its fifth year, features heroes in the global battle against premature death and disease.

Nahlen will highlight the progress he has seen in the malaria fight during the past five years. Although the parasite and the mosquitoes that carry the disease are tough enemies, new funding and new approaches are decreasing the global burden of sickness and death.

Nahlen is a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service assigned to the U.S. Agency for International Development Bureau for Global Health. He has most recently served as senior adviser for monitoring and evaluation at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

As deputy coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative, Nahlen serves as senior technical adviser to the coordinator and provides guidance on malaria technical issues and program intervention. He also assists with in-country programs, program facilitation, policy coordination, coherence and implementation among all U.S. government agencies and other recipients of governmental funds for malaria prevention and treatment. Nahlen works to engage donors, host countries, the Global Fund, Roll Back Malaria, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and other relevant groups. He also ensures that monitoring and evaluation programs are implemented, are transparent, and provide clear results and outcomes.

A native of Little Rock, Ark., Nahlen graduated from medical school after completing undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame. He completed a residency in family medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, before joining the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1986 as an epidemic intelligence service officer assigned to the malaria branch. In 1989, he completed a second residency in preventive medicine and later served as deputy director of the Los Angeles County AIDS epidemiology program.

Nahlen’s commitment to malaria prevention and control subsequently took him to Kenya in 1992 as director of the Health and Human Services/CDC field research station in collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute. During his seven years in Kenya, the HHS/CDC/KEMRI group conducted several landmark studies demonstrating the efficacy of insecticide-treated mosquito nets in reducing child mortality in an area of intense transmission; the efficacy of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in improving the health of pregnant women and their newborns; and interactions between malaria and HIV in pregnant women and their infants.

In 2000, the CDC assigned Nahlen to act as senior technical adviser to the Roll Back Malaria initiative that had just been launched by the World Health Organization. He set up monitoring and evaluation systems and interventions aimed at malaria in pregnant women. Since 2003, he also has chaired the Roll Back Malaria monitoring and evaluation reference group, which was established to develop consensus on core indicators; data collection methods; priority issues for research related to monitoring and evaluation; and data analysis and reporting.

He oversaw the production of the Africa Malaria Report 2003 and the World Malaria Report 2005, which WHO and UNICEF produced on behalf of the Roll Back Malaria partners. Nahlen was next assigned to serve as senior adviser for performance and evaluation policy with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Nahlen has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications related to malaria prevention and control.

Although his publication record is impressive, how he has put that information to work draws additional accolades. “Bernard Nahlen is someone who has taken his knowledge of multiple aspects of malaria far, far beyond publishing important scientific papers,” said Daniel G. Colley, director of UGA’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. “He has certainly done that, but he has also translated those studies into making a real, significant and positive impact on the global control of malaria. He is leading us down the pathway toward elimination of this scourge in some areas and his efforts are making major headway in its control.”

The 2010 Voices from the Vanguard series continues on March 23 with a lecture by Julie Jacobson from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and concludes on April 13 with Jenna Davis of Stanford University discussing her work in water, sanitation and health. All lectures will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the UGA Chapel, followed by a reception next door at Demosthenian Hall.

The “Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard” lecture series is a joint effort of Patricia Thomas, the UGA Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Daniel G. Colley, director of the UGA Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. For additional information, see