During a global public health career spanning nearly
30 years and addressing disease issues ranging from SARS to smoking,
Jeffrey Koplan has developed a unique perspective and understanding
of global plagues that include infectious disease epidemics
such as smallpox, pandemic flu and HIV/AIDS, as well as chronic
disease crises like obesity and tobacco and alcohol-related illnesses.
Koplan will present his insights and historical knowledge of past
and present plagues and their psychological and behavioral poweras
well as what we can expect from the future, and whether an understanding
of the evolution of infectious bugs and behavior-related
afflictions can help us stem the progression of these public health
scourgesin his Great Teachers Lecture, Plagues: Bugs
and Behavior, to be held Thursday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. in
Miller-Ward Alumni House.
Epidemics have been a feature of human society since we began
clustering in communities, Koplan said. They have been
persistent and recurrent threats throughout history and show little
sign of slowing down. In addition to the new microorganisms that
threaten us, our own behaviors and lifestyles are also contributors
to our contemporary menu of plagues.
Koplan came to Emory as vice president for academic health affairs
in 2002 after serving as director of the CDC, the nations
most prominent agency devoted to health promotion and the prevention
of disease, injury and disability.
He began his public health career in the early 1970s as one of the
CDCs celebrated disease detectives, more formally
known as Epidemic Intelligence Service officers. During his long
career in public health, Koplan has been a world leader in virtually
every major global public health issueas part of the final
smallpox eradication project in Bangladesh; a member of the team
that investigated the Bhopal chemical disaster in India; the anthrax
incidents in 2001; and continuing global problems of HIV/AIDS, malaria
As a consultant to the World Bank and the World Health Organization,
Koplan has worked extensively in the public health programs of other
nations, including China, Hungary, Finland, the Caribbean and else
where. During the recent SARS epidemic, he has been a special consultant
to the government of Hong Kong.
As founding director of the CDCs National Center for Chronic
Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, he was successful in establishing
the fight against chronic disease as a national priority, provided
national and international leadership in efforts to combat the health
toll of tobacco, obesity and chronic diseases, and initiated the
national breast cancer early-detection program
At Emory, in addition to his role as vice president, he is senior
adviser to the Southeastern Center for Emerging Biologic Threats.
With Emorys great resources in infectious diseases,
microbiology, behavioral sciences, epidemiology, etc., and our proximity
and close ties to the worlds premier public health agency,
the CDC, we can make unique and profound contributions to addressing
both the acute and epidemic health threats as well as the chronic
and common ones, Koplan said.
The Great Teachers Lecture Series is free and open to the public.
Call 404-727-5686 for more information.