Global health pioneer Dr. Seth Berkley joins the Pandemic Center

After a 40 year career championing equitable access to vaccines and improving the way the world prevents and responds to infectious disease, alum Dr. Seth Berkley returns to Brown University to advise the Pandemic Center.

In his Baccalaureate address to the Brown University graduates of 2022, Seth Berkley ScB’78, M.D.’81, gave credit to Brown for imparting to him the principles that guided his career for over 40 years. “The values (Brown) instills,” he said, “really gave me a sense of purpose and passion for the pursuit of truth and a desire to always strive to do the right thing.”

That sense of purpose led him to the CDC following his training at the Warren Alpert Medical School, then to Uganda, where he worked as an epidemiologist at the Ministry of Health during the rise of the country’s AIDS epidemic. He then spent eight years with the Rockefeller Foundation managing programs in epidemiology, public health, medical and nursing education, vaccination, AIDS, STIs, and reproductive health in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

From 2011 to 2023 Berkley served as CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. During his tenure at Gavi, Berkley led a team that worked toward broadening global immunization access, resulting in more than half of the world’s children being vaccinated annually. His leadership was equally significant in co-founding and spearheading COVAX, an initiative that facilitated the distribution of over 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to 146 nations.

The work of my life is to improve public health and to confront the global threat of infectious disease.

Dr. Seth Berkley Adjunct Professor of the Practice of Epidemiology

Jennifer Nuzzo, director of Brown’s Pandemic Center, announced that beginning September 1, Berkley will join the School of Public Health as a senior advisor to the Pandemic Center and as adjunct professor of the practice in the Department of Epidemiology.

“Dr. Berkley joins our Pandemic Center team at an important moment, bringing his unmatched experience as a global change-maker to our shared work to improve pandemic preparedness and response,” Nuzzo said. “He has made life-changing and life-saving differences around the globe and we look forward to working with him to continue to improve public health.”

As a senior advisor to the Pandemic Center, Dr. Berkley joins an interdisciplinary team that takes a holistic approach to pandemic preparedness. His global health leadership experience will bolster the Center’s efforts to build resilience to biological threats around the world and help mitigate their impact.

“The work of my life is to improve public health and to confront the global threat of infectious disease,” Berkley said. “This aligns well with the work of the Pandemic Center. I am eager to join them to meet the challenges we face as a global commons now, and knowing the evolutionary certainty of further outbreaks ahead, to advance our shared values. The health and quality of life of people around the globe demands our urgent attention and action.”

2022 Baccalaureate Address


Seth Berkley delivers speech to Brown graduates.

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