David Heymann

David Heymann is distinguished fellow in the Global Health Programme at Chatham House, and professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Previously he served as the World Health Organization’s assistant director-general for health security and environment, and as the representative of the director-general for polio eradication.

From 1998 to 2003 he was executive director of the WHO Communicable Diseases Cluster, during which he headed the global response to SARS, and prior to that was director for the WHO Programme on Emerging and Other Communicable Diseases. Earlier experiences at WHO include chief of research activities in the WHO Global Programme on AIDS.

Before joining WHO he worked for 13 years as a medical epidemiologist in sub-Saharan Africa, on assignment from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where he participated in the first and second outbreaks of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, and supported ministries of health in research aimed at better control of malaria, measles, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. Prior to joining CDC, he worked in India for two years as a medical epidemiologist in the WHO Smallpox Eradication Programme.

David is currently a professor of infectious disease epidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is also an elected fellow of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (US) and the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK), and has been awarded several public health awards that have provided funding for the establishment of an ongoing mentorship program at the International Association of Public Health Institutes (IANPHI). In 2009, he was appointed an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) for service to global public health. He has also been awarded the 2004 American Public Health Association Award for Excellence, the 2005 Donald Mackay Award from the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the 2007 Heinz Award on the Human Condition.

David has published in more than 145 scientific articles on infectious diseases and related issues in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals, and authored several chapters on infectious diseases in medical textbooks.


The World is Unprepared for the Unthinkable

A biological attack anywhere would have profound and far-reaching political, military, and health consequences