Dr. Warren D. Johnson was there when Fogarty's signature AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP) began in 1988, and now his name is attached - literally - to one of the Center's biggest successes.
In February, Johnson, the director of the Center for Global Health at Weill Cornell Medical College, was honored in Haiti by having a medical center named for him on the new campus of GHESKIO, which is a French acronym for the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Infectious Diseases.
A second laboratory building was also inaugurated at the ceremony and was named in honor of Rodolphe Mérieux, the late son of the president of the French biotech company, BioMérieux, Lyon.
Opening the Warren D. Johnson, Jr. Medical
Center in Port-au-Prince are, from left, center
physician Dr. Marie Marcelle Deschamps,
French ambassador to Haiti Christian Conan,
long-time Fogarty grantee Dr. Warren D.
Johnson Jr., Alain Méieux (president of the
French Biotechnology company, BioMérieux,
Lyon), Dr. Jean Pape and U.S. ambassador
Janet Ann Sanderson.
Founded in 1982, GHESKIO is the first institution in the world exclusively dedicated to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
It is a long-time partner with Fogarty in the training of a new generation of infectious disease researchers. Despite Haiti’s social and political unrest, GHESKIO never once closed its doors to those it serves.
Johnson, one of the first AITRP grantees, taught Dr. Jean William (Bill) Pape at Cornell’s medical school in the 1970s. Pape returned to his native Haiti and went on to found GHESKIO, becoming a Fogarty grantee himself and an internationally recognized leader in AIDS research.
GHESKIO has been an emulated model for global health practitioners since its inception.
The Johnson Center is part of the organization’s integrated model for HIV/AIDS prevention and care and more than doubles its capacity to provide patient services and a wide range of training.
Research at GHESKIO has resulted in more than 100 articles published in major journals, including the first article describing the characteristics of HIV/AIDS in the developing world, which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1983.
Johnson's career has been devoted to research and training in resource-poor countries. Besides conducting innovative research, he has also set up long-term training programs in Tanzania and Brazil.