José F. Cordero

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Dr. José F. Cordero
Born Camuy, Puerto Rico
Nationality Puerto Rican
Occupation Pediatrician, Epidemiologist and Teratologist

Dr. José F. Cordero is a pediatrician, epidemiologist, teratologist and Dean of the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Puerto Rico. Cordero was an Assistant Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service and the founding director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.[1]

Early years[edit]

Cordero was born in Camuy, Puerto Rico, where he received his primary and secondary education. After graduating from high school he enrolled in the University Of Puerto Rico School Of Medicine. In 1973 he earned his medical degree, then completed his internship in 1974 and his residency in 1975 at the Boston City Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1977, Cordero completed a fellowship in medical genetics at the Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1979, Cordero obtained a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University.[1][2]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[edit]

After earning his Masters degree, Cordero joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CGC) as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer. He spent 15 years working with the Birth Defects Branch on children's health and disability issues.[1]

Together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cordero initiated a multi-state collaborative study to identify factors that may put children at risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and other developmental disabilities. Cordero was quoted as saying[3]

"We hope this national study will help us learn more about the characteristics of children with ASDs, factors associated with developmental delays, and how genes and the environment may affect child development"

In 1994, Cordero was appointed deputy director of the National Immunization Program, where he made important and long-lasting contributions to one of the nation's most successful public health programs.[1] The Children’s Health Act of 2000 created the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) in Atlanta, Georgia and, in 2001, Cordero was both a founding member and its first director.[1] NCBDDD is a leading international institution devoted to research and prevention of birth defects and developmental disabilities, and the promotion of health amongst people of all ages who are living with disabilities.[4]

Eradication of Rubella[edit]

Rubella (German measles), is a major cause of birth defects that can be prevented through vaccination. Cordero, whose work has been published in many national and international journals, has promoted the eradication of the disease. He has also promoted research to determine the causes of birth defects and developmental disabilities, and has promoted efforts to prevent serious birth defects (such as use of folic acid to prevent Spina Bifida). He is a strong supporter of programs that promote wellness of persons with disabilities. Cordero served as President of the Teratology Society, a professional research society devoted to the prevention of birth defects.[1]

Legacy[edit]

Cordero, who worked for 27 years at the CDC and served as an Assistant Surgeon General of the Public Health Service, is the Dean of the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Puerto Rico. His work has been published in many national and international scientific and medical journals.[1] Cordero is affiliated with the Mount Sinai Medical Center of New York.[5]

See also[edit]


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