Progress in the fight against malaria will be the topic of the next “Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard” lecture Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m. in the Chapel. Bernard Nahlen, deputy coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative, will deliver an address entitled “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.
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 there, the group conducted 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.
“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 the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. “He has certainly done that, but he also has 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.”