2018 President-Elect candidate
David C. Kaslow, MD
PATH, Washington, DC
I am humbled and honored to be considered again as a candidate for President-Elect. Since the 37th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in 1988, ASTMH has been a uniquely important part of my professional career. The Society significantly shaped my early career, particularly through the Annual Meetings, which provided an opportunity to not only to share scientific evidence but build new and life-long collaborations, and through leadership opportunities to serve on its various committees as well as serve as an ASTMH Councilor (1999-2002). In the years since, ASTMH has provided an enduring venue for sustaining many of my longest and most treasured professional relationships.
Through basic research and various product development efforts as a physician-scientist, I’ve been fortunate to have worked in a broad range of settings—US Public Health Service, biotech, big pharma, and now the non-profit NGO sector. In each of those distinctive contexts, ASTMH has and should continue to play a critical role in advancing the shared vision of a world free of the life-threatening and debilitating burden of tropical infectious diseases. ASTMH is well placed to do so, through its rich scientific programs and impactful journal which generate and disseminate scientific evidence and foster excellence in those endeavors, to its growing membership of experts who live and work in countries whose citizens suffer the greatest burden of tropical infectious diseases, to member and Society advocacy efforts to drive toward the forefront the global health R&D agenda of addressing the unmet needs of preventing and treating tropical infectious diseases and the funding thereof.
That said and despite amazing progress in the first 17 years of the 21st century, including nearly halving the under-5 mortality rate worldwide, threats to achieving the Society’s vision and continuing to deliver on its mission have increased substantially, particularly in the last few years. These threats will grow for the foreseeable future, unless scientific organizations, such as ASTMH, speak with a compelling voice and its members act decisively to continue gains made in improving the lives of those living in the lowest resources settings, many of which are in the tropics. As the largest international scientific organization of experts dedicated to reducing the worldwide burden of tropical infectious diseases and improving global health, ASTMH has both the opportunity and the responsibility to inform, influence and impact not just the scientific agenda associated with tropical infectious diseases but the broader social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development where these infectious diseases hit hardest.
To this end, a clear, strong voice of advocacy based on sound scientific evidence and delivered in ways that connect with diverse audiences will be critical to sustain the resources needed to continue progress towards a world free of tropical infectious diseases. During the tenure of the next ASTMH President-Elect: 1) budgets of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will be in constant, imminent peril; 2) the World Health Organization will undergo a historic change of leadership and likely significant reform; and 3) the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages), will chart the course of the global health R&D agenda for nearly a generation. Each of these will shape the global health R&D agenda and its course. Building ASTMH capacity to increasingly influence that agenda and course will be a critical decision for the Society and will be both a key challenge and opportunity for the members of the Society to achieving our vision and delivering on our mission. To successfully do so may require further broadening of the Society’s internationally recognized competencies in biomedical research to include the same level of recognition for subject matter expertise in social, economic and environmental sciences. Through ASTMH leadership, I welcome the opportunity to contribute to shaping that agenda and course, in ways that align with and ensure continued progress towards reducing the worldwide burden of tropical infectious diseases and improving global health.
The historically unprecedented power of biomedical sciences to combat tropical infectious diseases, when adequately resourced and appropriately framed in social, economic and environmental context and combined with the necessary political will, can create a world free of tropical infectious diseases. To serve ASTMH again, to give back what the Society has so generously given me over nearly three decades, and to contribute to achieving our shared vision in this ASTMH leadership position over the next three years would be an honor.
Summary of Volunteer/Member Roles in ASTMH
It has been a pleasure to serve ASTMH in four roles over the last 26 years, including as a Travel Award Committee member (1991 – 1997), Scientific Program Committee member (1992 – 1995), Councilor (1999 – 2002) and Corporate Liaison Committee member (1999 – 2002).
David C. Kaslow is a physician-scientist with 30+ years of research and product development experience that spans work in government, biotech, big pharma and non-profit institutions. He currently serves as Vice President of Essential Medicines at PATH, where he supports product development and introduction of safe, effective, and affordable drugs and vaccines against diseases that disproportionately burden people living in the poorest communities around the world. PATH, an international nonprofit organization established 40 years ago and headquartered in Seattle, Washington, has more than 1,500 staff members, working in more than 70 countries with offices in 40 cities in 22 countries. PATH’s mission is to improve the health of people around the world by advancing technologies, strengthening systems, and encouraging healthy behaviors. Within PATH’s Essential Medicines, David leads the recently founded Center for Vaccine Innovation and Access (CVIA). CVIA brings together PATH’s expertise across all stages of vaccine research, development, and introduction to make lifesaving vaccine widely available to women, children and communities across the world. David joined PATH in 2012 as Director of PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), a vaccine development program of PATH that works to accelerate the development of malaria vaccines and catalyze timely access in endemic countries.
Prior to joining PATH, David was Vice President and Head of Vaccines Project Leadership and Management at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL), based in West Point, Pennsylvania. His responsibilities included oversight of clinical biomarkers and project leadership and management of MRL’s vaccine pipeline. From 2001-2006, he served as Chief Scientific Officer at Vical, a San Diego-based biotech developing DNA-based vaccines, including a DNA vaccine candidate designed to prevent cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease in transplant recipients. Prior to that, he was Senior Director of Virus and Cell Biology and Head of Vaccine Research and Technology at Merck Research Laboratories, where he contributed to the vaccine application of tools originally developed for gene therapy, including MRK-Ad5 HIV-1 clade B vaccine. From 1986-1999, David was Head of the Malaria Vaccine Section and founder of the Malaria Vaccine Development Unit at NIAID. As a basic research scientist, he completed the molecular cloning and characterization of several proteins involved in malaria parasite sexual development that were targets of transmission-blocking immunity. While at NIAID, he directed product development, including field studies, of several malaria vaccine candidates. He currently serves on several advisory boards, including as Chair of the World Health Organization’s Product Development for Vaccines Advisory Committee (PDVAC) and as a member of NIAID’s Division of Intramural Research (DIR) Board of Scientific Counselors. He holds or co-holds more than a dozen patents and has published more than 160 scientific papers. He received a BS degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, and a MD degree from the University of California, San Francisco.