Julie Jacobson, MD

Posted 11 September 2018

2019 President-Elect Candidate

Julie Jacobson, MD
Uniting to Combat NTDs, U.S.-based

Personal Statement
ASTMH was established in 1903. It is the largest Society working on tropical diseases globally and has a membership from around the world. It has been an honor for me to serve on the ASTMH Council at a critical time in the growth and development of the Society. On the Council, my understanding of the many roles that the Society plays has grown and I have seen its influence and the potential for this influence to expand. In these dynamic times, the role of the Society has become increasingly important. The Society has been extremely active in supporting evidence-based responses to misinformation to ensure that global health remains a priority and that global health means an inclusive Society.

The vision statement for ASTMH - a world free of tropical infectious diseases, resonates with the focus of my life endeavors from the time I was a medical student through my professional career. I have been lucky to be able to work in many roles including the lab, the clinic, public health, educator, product development, funder, grantee, and advocate. In medical school I started an international awareness group, Project World Health (http://projectworldhealth.org/), that still functions to this day at the USF Morsani College of Medicine, that provides educational experiences and exchange opportunities to medical students to broaden their exposure to global health challenges. This started me on my path to global health. 

Now, more than 20 years later I have started a global partnership, Uniting to Combat NTDs (http://unitingtocombatntds.org/), that brings together a multidisciplinary partnership to achieve collaborative impact controlling and eliminating NTDs. At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, I have 11 years of amazing and intense experience across a wide array of projects and initiatives to apply towards strengthening global health efforts and partnerships. I believe serving as ASTMH President will call on all of this experience, from the lab and the clinic through to establishing partnerships and being a global health advocate. I look forward to applying this experience and knowledge to helping the Society grow into the future, serving the membership and the world with its unique role. We have the opportunity to use our collective voice to improve the health of people around the world capitalizing on training opportunities and inspiring the work and voices of the next generations in global health. If selected for this honor that is what I will try work with you to do.

Summary of Volunteer/Member Roles in ASTMH
I have organized and participated in many symposia and sessions as part of the ASTMH meeting. A selection of the sessions are as follows with content that covers viral vaccine preventable diseases, disease elimination/eradication, and the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). In addition to sessions, I have arranged many meetings that have built on the ASTMH meeting including initiating what is now the Coalition for Operational Research on NTDs (COR-NTD) meeting, currently managed by the NTD support center at the Taskforce for Global Health.

Specifically, with the management of ASTMH, I participated in the ASTMH Nominating Committee in 2014 and have reviewed submitted symposia as part of the selection process for special sessions supported through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I have served on the ASTMH Council since 2016. Participated in all mid-year meetings and the subsequent Hill visits. I was on the committee for what is now the Clara Southmayd Ludlow Medal and have recently volunteered for the Equity and Inclusiveness Working Group.


Symposium: Japanese encephalitis: Defining Disease Burden and New Tools for Diagnosing Disease

Symposium: Japanese encephalitis: The challenges and successes of disease control and disability assessment in the developing world


Late Breaker Poster Presentation: Measles vaccine immunogenicity after coadministration with live attenuated Japanese encephalitis vaccine shows equivalence to that of measles vaccine given alone


Symposium: Disease eradication with the forgotten diseases: the NTDs and their progress towards the finish line


Symposium: Race to 2020 and NTD Elimination: Will We Make It and What Will It Take?


Symposium: London Declaration on NTDs: What Next?


Symposium: Japanese encephalitis: the final mile

Biographical Information
Julie Jacobson currently is the Chair of Uniting to Combat NTDs, supporting an innovative partnership to help achieve the WHO established targets for ten neglected diseases. She is a family practice physician with training in clinical tropical medicine and applied epidemiology. She recently completed 11 years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she worked on activities and investments toward the control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) helping to establish the Foundation’s NTD team and the Uniting to Combat NTDs partnership. In addition to NTDs, Julie worked with several other program areas at the Foundation ranging from disease specific work in areas like dengue to helping establish the program on maternal immunization and contributing to activities around what is now integrated delivery.  

Prior to the Foundation, she was the former Scientific Director of Immunization Solutions at PATH and Director of PATH’s Japanese encephalitis (JE) project. During this time, Julie helped accelerate the control of JE in endemic countries by improving data on the distribution of JE, the development of an improved vaccine and diagnostic tests for JE, and countries’ integration of the JE vaccine into immunization programs. Ultimately this program supported the first Chinese vaccine ever to be pre-qualified by WHO and procured by GAVI. While with PATH’s Children’s Vaccine Program she supported the start of GAVI and the Vaccine Fund as part of a small team. Beyond routine immunization she was responsible for prioritizing and designing field activities for new vaccines including HPV, yellow fever and rotavirus.

Before joining PATH, Dr. Jacobson worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Intelligence Officer working in Disaster Epidemiology responding to natural disasters. In this capacity, she conducted needs assessments for disaster victims, evaluated national surveillance systems, and assessed the health impact of earthquakes on displaced persons. Dr. Jacobson has worked clinically in the U.S., Latin America and Africa.