Vaccine expert named first director of Yale Institute for Global Health (YIGH)

Dr. Saad B. Omer has been named the inaugural director of the Yale Institute for Global Health (YIGH). Omer is currently the William H. Foege Professor of Global Health, Epidemiology, and Pediatrics at Emory University’s Schools of Public Health and Medicine. He will hold joint appointments at Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Medicine and a secondary appointment at Yale School of Nursing, effective July 1.

“Some of the most pressing problems of our time are related to global health. Addressing them will require us to bring our ‘A game,’” said Omer. “Yale’s breadth of excellence is matched by only a few institutions in the world and, therefore, global health needs and deserves the involvement of an institution such as Yale.”

“The Yale Institute for Global Health represents a great opportunity for cross-campus collaboration on pressing health issues. Dr. Saad Omer is the ideal founding director to bring the campus together and enhance Yale’s impact on crucial global issues,” said Pericles Lewis, vice president for global strategy and deputy provost for international affairs at Yale University.

In leading YIGH, Omer plans to leverage Yale’s preeminence in research, teaching, and clinical care for solving major global health problems. His vision for YIGH is to support faculty and trainees in developing transformative initiatives that cross disciplines and have an impact on people’s lives across the globe. His goal is to develop signature programs in partnership with colleagues around the world that improve health and reduce preventable deaths.

“We are most fortunate that Dr. Omer will lead Yale to help accelerate partnerships for greater research and implementation impact on the health of the world’s population,” said Sten Vermund, dean of the Yale School of Public Health. “His expertise and experience will enable us to expand important work with diverse partners around the globe.”

Omer has conducted studies in the United States, Guatemala, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and South Africa. His research portfolio includes clinical and field trials to estimate the efficacy and/or immunogenicity of influenza, polio, pertussis, and pneumococcal vaccines; and clinical trials to evaluate drug regimens to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Africa. He has also conducted studies on interventions to increase immunization coverage and acceptance. His work has been cited in global and country-specific policy recommendations and has informed clinical practice and health legislation in several countries.

“Now is a crucial time for the health of people and the planet, and to expand on the extensive assets and networks of faculty work at Yale. Dr. Omer brings not only years of global health research experience to YIGH, but a strategic view of how Yale can work to help improve health today and for future generations,” said Ann Kurth, dean of the Yale School of Nursing.

“One of the important ways YIGH will build a tradition of excellence is by investing in future leaders. Dr. Omer brings a strong record of mentoring junior faculty and trainees in research and this mentoring process will be integral in developing future global health research leaders at Yale,” adds Dr. Robert Rohrbaugh, professor of psychiatry and director of the Office of International Medical Student Education at Yale School of Medicine.

Omer has published widely in peer-reviewed journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, The Lancet, British Medical Journal. He is a recipient of multiple awards and has served on several advisory panels including the National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria – Incentives for Vaccine Working Group, and the WHO Expert Advisory Group for Healthcare Worker Vaccination. He has served as an academic affiliate of the Office of Evaluation Sciences — formerly known as the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team. He received his Ph.D. and M.P.H. degrees from Johns Hopkins University, and his M.B.B.S. from The Aga Khan University Medical College.

 The Yale Institute for Global Health was established in 2018 to bring together expertise and knowledge from across campus with partners around the world to improve and accelerate health and health equity for people worldwide through high-impact research, education, service, and advocacy.