Obituary – Dr Jack Woodall

Dr John Payne Woodall, PhD (LSHTM) and co-founder of the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) has passed away age 81.

Dr Woodall, known to friends and colleagues as Jack, was educated at Bedford School and Clare College Cambridge, and obtained his PhD in Entomology and Virology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 1956.

Jack’s first position in public health was as a member of Her Majesty’s Overseas Research Service, working at the East African Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, the capital of Uganda prior to its independence in 1962; his work involved yellow fever and the discovery of new viruses.

In 1965 Jack was appointed Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Virus Laboratory in Belem, Brazil, where once again his work involved carrying out research on yellow fever and discovering new viruses. Jack left Belem in 1971 to work for the New York State Department of Health on mosquito and tick borne viruses. In 1975 he became Director of the San Juan Laboratories of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), US Public Health Service in Puerto Rico, responsible for the dengue and schistosomiasis programmes there.

In 1980 Jack was seconded to the World Health Organization (WHO), where he travelled extensively leading teams to assist developing countries in improving their health laboratories, health services management, primary health care and health financing. He introduced the WHO programme on AIDS to four African countries and was also a member of the WHO Staff Committee, General Secretary of the Federation of International Civil Servants Associations for a year, and editor of UNSpecial, the monthly magazine for United Nations international civil servants in Geneva.

In 1994 Jack retired from the WHO, returned to his old post with the New York State Department of Health and cofounded ProMED, a free online global network reporting outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases.

After working in the US for 4 years, Jack returned to Brazil in 1998 as Visiting Professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) carrying out research on emerging diseases. Despite retiring in Rio de Janeiro Brazil in 2007, Jack remained active in ProMED, the Biological Weapons Prevention Project and the One Health Initiative.

Jack sadly passed away in London on Monday 24 October 2016. His career and exhaustive list of achievements is a testament to his dedication to infectious diseases, which will be remembered by all. We offer our condolences and deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Obituaries for Jack were published in STAT and The Scientist.

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