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Robert F. Breiman, MD

Director of the Emory Global Health Institute

robert breiman insetDr. Breiman is Director of the Emory Global Health Institute and holds faculty appointments in the Hubert Department of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health and in the Infectious Disease Department of the Emory University School of Medicine.

Before joining Emory, Dr. Robert Breiman was the Director of the Kenya office of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDC’s largest overseas field operation. From 2004-2012, he also served as the Head of the CDC Global Disease Detection Division, based in Nairobi. An infectious diseases epidemiologist, Dr. Breiman has worked with a variety of urban and rural surveillance systems, and has conducted applied research on infectious diseases with a focus on disease burden studies, vaccine evaluations, and risk factor studies. He helped to establish and oversee the development of one of the most highly functional biosafety 3 labs in Africa—CDC-Kenya now has two.

Dr. Breiman’s primary areas of activity while in Kenya included establishing population-based active surveillance for infectious disease syndromes in a Nairobi slum (Kibera) and in rural Asembo Bay in western Kenya; rotavirus, influenza, and pneumococcal vaccine studies; and leading investigations of outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever in Kenya, avian influenza in Nigeria, Chikungunya virus in Lamu and Comoros Islands, and assisting the Ministry of Health in Kenya and Nigeria on preparedness and responses to avian and pandemic influenza. He was integral in the effort to coordinate veterinary and human pathogen surveillance to characterize transmission of pathogens from animals to humans.

Before moving to Kenya, Dr. Breiman was Director of the Health Systems and Infectious Diseases Division and Head, Programme on Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Sciences at the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) from 2000-2004. He was the team leader for WHO teams investigating SARS in China in 2003 and three outbreaks of Nipah encephalitis during 2003 and 2004. He participated in studies evaluating influenza and rotavirus vaccines, as well as maternal immunization with pneumococcal and influenza vaccines to prevent acute respiratory illness in infants.

Dr. Breiman worked at CDC for 26 years, and was previously the Director of the National Vaccine Program Office, reporting to the DHHS Assistant Secretary for Health from 1995-2000 and was the Chief of the Epidemiology Section of the Respiratory Diseases Branch from 1989-1995. He completed his Infectious Diseases Fellowship at UCLA (1984-1987), and his internal medicine residency and chief residency at the UCLA San Fernando Valley Program (1979-1983). He received his MD from the University of Arizona in 1979. He is Board Certified in the US in Internal Medicine and in Infectious Diseases, a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and a member of the American Society of Epidemiology, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the American Society of Microbiology. Dr. Breiman is author or co-author of >275 peer reviewed original scientific articles, perspectives, and chapters.