School of Public Health

Foege, William

William Foege

Affiliate Professor, Epidemiology

Professor Emeritus of International Health, Emory University


MD University of Washington, 1961
MPH Harvard University, 1965

Contact Info

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
P.O. Box 23350
Seattle, WA 98102
Tel: 206-709-3100

William H. Foege is an epidemiologist who worked in the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. Dr. Foege became Chief of the CDC Smallpox Eradication Program, and was appointed Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 1977. He attended Pacific Lutheran University, received his medical degree from the University of Washington, and his Master's in Public Health from Harvard University.

In 1984, Foege and several colleagues formed the Task Force for Child Survival, a working group for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, The World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Its success in accelerating childhood immunization led to an expansion of its mandate in 1991 to include other issues which diminish the quality of life for children.

Dr. Foege joined the Carter Center in 1986 as Executive Director, Fellow for Health Policy and Executive Director of Global 2000. In 1992, he resigned as Executive Director of the Carter Center, but continued in his role as a Fellow and as Executive Director of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development. In January 1997, he joined the faculty of Emory University, where he was Presidential Distinguished Professor of International Health at the Rollins School of Public Health. In September 1999, Dr. Foege became a Senior Medical Advisor for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In October 1999, Dr. Foege resigned as Executive Director of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development. Dr. Foege retired from Emory University in December of 2001, however he remains active as Presidential Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Health. He has recently retired from his role at the Gates foundation as Senior Fellow, but continues to contribute to their work in global health.


The Carter Center, Inc

Research Interests

Child survival and development, injury prevention, population, preventive medicine, and public health leadership, particularly in the developing world. He is a strong proponent of disease eradication and control and has taken an active role in the eradication of Guinea worm disease, polio and measles, and the elimination of river blindness.

Research Areas 

In The News

Bill Foege on How to Make Ebola Worse
Humanosphere, 10/29/2014

Profile of a Global Health Prankster, Bill Foege
Humanosphere, 06/03/2014

Global Partners in Fighting Disease
Washington Post, 11/22/2012