Dr. Paul Emerson will join The Task Force for Global Health as director of the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI). His appointment begins January 6, 2014. As director, Dr. Emerson will be responsible for the overall success of ITI’s trachoma elimination efforts with program partner Pfizer to achieve the global elimination of blinding trachoma by 2020.
About 21.4 million people, primarily women and children, have active trachoma. The disease slowly and painfully robs people of their sight, as repeated infection turns eyelashes inwards, scraping the cornea and eventually causes irreversible blindness. Women, traditionally the caretakers of children, are almost twice as likely as men to develop blinding trachoma.
Dr. Emerson joins ITI from The Carter Center, where he has been director of the Trachoma Control Program since 2004. Through ITI, Pfizer has distributed 340 million treatments of donated Zithromax® to treat and prevent blinding trachoma in 28 countries in Africa and Asia. The Carter Center recently distributed the 100 millionth dose of Zithromax® donated by Pfizer in Ethiopia.
At The Carter Center, Dr. Emerson provided oversight to program activities in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, South Sudan, Sudan and Ethiopia. He served as the Co-Director of the Malaria Control Program (2006) and has held the title of Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University since 2009.
Prior to joining The Carter Center, Dr. Emerson worked in a number of other positions including Research Fellow and Lecturer of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, at the University of Durham where he was the grant holder and Principal Investigator leading a small team on multi-country evaluations of trachoma control programs assisted by HKI and World Vision. He has worked for the Medical Research Council Laboratories in The Gambia, the Ministry of Education in Botswana, and the Ministry of Education in Kenya.
Dr. Emerson has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, and authored several letters, editorials and manuals in the areas of Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial Cleanliness, Environmental improvement, innovation, integration, and surveys and surveillance in the fields of trachoma and malaria control. Dr. Emerson holds a doctorate in Biological and Biomedical Sciences from the University of Durham and an MSc in Applied Parasitology and Medical Entomology from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.