Richard G. Marlink Appointed Director of Global Health for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and Henry Rutgers Professor of Global Health

April 28, 2016

Members of the RBHS Community:

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Richard G. Marlink, MD as the inaugural Henry Rutgers Professor of Global Health and director of the new Global Health Institute for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS). The recruitment of an internationally known leader for global health is a major step forward in implementing our University and RBHS strategic plan initiatives, connecting Rutgers University with the collective efforts of the greater public health community to improve health and wellness across the world.

Dr. Marlink is currently the Bruce A. Beal, Robert L. Beal, and Alexander S. Beal Professor of the Practice of Public Health at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Executive Director of the Harvard AIDS Initiative. A world recognized public health researcher and leader in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, Dr. Marlink has a wealth of experience developing implementation and research efforts via public-private partnerships across Africa.

A trained fellow in hematology/oncology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Marlink received his MD from the University of New Mexico and his BA from Brown University. In the beginning days of the AIDS epidemic, Dr. Marlink helped set up the first HIV/AIDS clinic in Boston, Massachusetts. He conducted early work on the impact of the HIV virus in West and Central Africa.

Dr. Marlink was part of the team of Senegalese, French and American researchers who discovered and then initially studied HIV-2 in the mid-1980s in Senegal. He has been involved in multiple HIV/AIDS care, treatment and prevention programs in many African countries including: Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. He has also organized initiatives to enhance HIV/AIDS care in Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Thailand.

After helping start the Botswana-Harvard Partnership in 1996, Dr. Marlink was the founder of KITSO, which would become Botswana's national AIDS training program. He was the Principal Investigator for the Tshepo Study, the first large-scale antiretroviral treatment study in Botswana, in addition to conducting various other clinical and epidemiological studies in the region. Also in Botswana, Dr. Marlink was the Country Director for Harvard's contribution to the joint Botswana and US Governments' HIV/AIDS and TB training, monitoring and evaluation PEPFAR effort.

Dr. Marlink has also served as the Scientific Director, the Vice President for Implementation and the Senior Advisor for Medical and Scientific Affairs at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. With the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, he was Principal Investigator of Project HEART, a 5-country CDC/PEPFAR effort in Africa. This project began in 2004 and by 2011 had placed over 1 million people living with HIV into care clinics, of which over 565,000 were placed on life-saving antiretroviral treatment. Since the year 2000, Dr. Marlink has been the founding member of the Board of Directors of the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships, a unique public-partnership between the Government of Botswana and the Bill and Melinda Gates and Merck Foundations to provide ongoing support for numerous HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment efforts in that country.

The author or co-author of over 125 scientific articles, Dr. Marlink has also written a textbook on AIDS, Global AIDS Crisis: A Reference Handbook, and co-edited the book, AIDS in Africa, 2nd Edition. Additionally, he has been the chief editor of two Special Supplements to the journal AIDS and has served as the Executive Editor of the seminal 320 author, 3 volume textbook: From the Ground Up: A Guide to Building Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Care Programs in Resource Limited Settings.

Dr. Marlink will formally join RBHS in July of 2016 as Professor of Medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. His goal will be to build Rutgers into one of the leading global health centers in the country, linking together and building upon our significant resources committed to improving the public health of the world. The initial foci of this effort will include: both old and new infectious disease epidemics, the expanding burden of non-communicable diseases in poor populations, the social and environment threats to health, poverty and humanitarian crises, and inadequate local and developing country health systems. The Global Health Institute will support the development of global health research programs across the University, the recruitment of faculty with interests in global health, and the creation of a web-based global health resource center for faculty and students with interests in these areas.

We are very fortunate to recruit a scholar, researcher, and leader of grass-roots health care delivery initiatives of Dr. Marlink's stature to coordinate and catalyze our own ventures in the field of global health. Please join me in welcoming him to Rutgers.

Sincerely,

Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs