175 Makers of History: William H. Foege

William H. Foege 86H
Director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

William Foege

William H. Foege is the epidemiologist widely recognized as instrumental in the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s.

After serving as a medical missionary in Nigeria, Foege became chief of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Smallpox Eradication Program and was named director of the agency in 1977.

In 1984 Foege and several colleagues formed the Task Force for Child Survival (now the Task Force for Global Health), which has taken an active role in progress against Guinea worm disease, polio, measles, and river blindness.

Foege served as executive director of The Carter Center from 1986 to 2000 and as Presidential Distinguished Professor of International Health at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health beginning in 1997. In 1999 he became senior medical adviser for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2001 Foege received the Lasker Award, one of the most prestigious honors in biomedical science.