ASTMH Presidents Send Letter to White House Over COVID-19 Concerns

Posted 3 March 2020

March 3, 2020 

The Honorable Donald J. Trump 
President of the United States 
The White House  

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20050  

The Honorable Michael R. Pence  
Vice President of the United States 
The White House  
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President and Mr. Vice President: 

We, the collective leadership and past-Presidents of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), the largest international scientific organization of experts dedicated to reducing the worldwide burden of tropical infectious diseases and to improving global health, write to you with our urgent concern related to COVID-19. We have a unique understanding of disease outbreaks as well as the health and economic consequences they pose for the United States and the world.   

Our nation has extraordinary assets to address COVID-19 through the highly experienced and specialized federal expertise at HHS, CDC, NIH and the FDA. They are best positioned to lead informed, evidence-based decisions that ultimately will benefit families at home and abroad, and ensure that facts lead our response to support the health and welfare of our country and our people.  

In addition to U.S. scientists, your Administration has an open door to tap our society of global experts who recognize ASTMH as their professional home. In some cases our members are NIH and CDC scientists, others are in the Department of Defense working to protect the health of our troops, and others are in the private sector, in academia and with foundations.   

As our national strategy (local, state, national and global) evolves to incorporate new, reliable information, we must remember that national and global collaboration, political will at home, fact-based, consistent messaging and full funding are also essential to getting the job done. 

Our U.S. scientific leadership is our best bet to manage this outbreak. They are highly qualified, experienced, trusted and committed to serving the best interests of our nation and the world. 

At ASTMH, we stand ready to offer our expertise. We look forward to working with the White House COVID-19 Task Force to address this outbreak, which is already revealing its potential for human tragedy and significant market consequences.    


Joel G. Breman, MD, DTPH, FASTMH

Julie Jacobson, MD 

Chandy C. John, MD, MS, FASTMH
Immediate Past President  

N. Regina Rabinovich, MD, FASTMH
President 2018

Patricia F. Walker, MD, DTM&H, FASTMH
President 2017  

Stephen Higgs, PhD, FRES, FASTMH
President 2016  

Christopher V. Plowe, MD, MPH, FASTMH
President 2015 

David H. Walker, MD, FASTMH
President 2013 

James W. Kazura, MD, FASTMH
President 2012 

Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, FASTMH
President 2011 

Edward T. Ryan, MD, DTM&H, FASTMH
President 2010 

Claire B. Panosian (Dunavan), MD, DTM&H, FASTMH 
President 2008 

Carlos (Kent) C. Campbell, MD, MPH, FASTMH 
President 2007 

Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH, FASTMH
President 2006 

Thomas P. Monath, MD, FASTMH
President 2005  
Peter F. Weller, MD, FASTMH 
President 2004 

William A. Petri, Jr., MD, PhD, FASTMH
President 2003 

Michele Barry, MD, FACP, FASTMH
President 2002 

Stephen L. Hoffman, MD, DTM&H, FASTMH
President 2001 

Duane J. Gubler, ScD, FASTMH 
President 2000 

Dyann F. Wirth, PhD, FASTMH 
President 1999 

Stephanie James, PhD, FASTMH
President 1998 

Richard L. Guerrant, MD, FASTMH
President 1997 

Donald S. Burke, MD, FASTMH
President 1996 

Carole A. Long, PhD, FASTMH 
President 1995 

Barnett L. Cline, MD, PhD, MPH, FASTMH
President 1994 

Daniel G. Colley, PhD, FASTMH
President 1993 

Louis H. Miller, MD, FASTMH 
President 1989 

Joseph A. Cook, MD, FASTMH 
President 1987 

Philip K. Russell, MD, FASTMH
President 1983