Peter Hotez

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Peter J. Hotez
Peter Hotez.jpg
Born (1958-05-05)May 5, 1958
Hartford, Connecticut
Nationality American
Fields Vaccinology, Neglected Tropical Disease Control, Public Policy, Global Health
Institutions George Washington University Medical School, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital, Sabin Vaccine Institute, James Baker Institute
Alma mater

Yale University (B.A.)
Weill Cornell Medical College (M.D.)

Rockefeller University (Ph.D.)

Dr. Peter J. Hotez is a scientist, pediatrician, and leading advocate and expert in the fields of global health, vaccinology, and neglected tropical disease control. He serves as founding dean of the Baylor College of Medicine National School of Tropical Medicine, chief of the new Section of Tropical Medicine in the BCM Department of Pediatrics and holds the Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics.[1] He is also President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC; and leads the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. He is also University Professor at Baylor University and is the Fellow in Disease and Poverty at Baker Institute for Public Policy at the Rice University.

Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Vaccine Research and Development ('the antipoverty vaccines')[edit]

As President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Director of its product development partnership (PDP) Hotez leads an international team of scientists working to develop vaccines to combat hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, and other infectious and neglected diseases, including Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, and SARS. These diseases are the most common infections of the world’s poorest people.

Together with Philip K. Russell, Hotez founded the Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative (HHVI) in 1999,[2] the first initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute PDP. Innovations developed by Sabin Vaccine Development—funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Michelson Medical Research Foundation (MMRF) and others—are sometimes referred to as “antipoverty vaccines” because of their impact on both global health and economic development. Antipoverty vaccines against hookworm are now in clinical trials in Brazil, while a new vaccine for schistosomiasis will soon undergo clinical testing. The vaccines for Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, ascariasis, trichuriasis, and SARS are at an earlier stage of development, with support from the NIAID, NIH, Carlos Slim Health Institute, Southwest Electric Energy Medical Research Institute, MMRF, and key individuals.

The Sabin Vaccine Institute PDP develops new antipoverty vaccines jointly with innovative developing countries, such as Brazil and Mexico, with aspirations to extend these activities to the Middle East and Asia. Hotez writes extensively about vaccine diplomacy, i.e., the opportunity of using vaccines as instruments of foreign policy and to promote global peace, especially among poor countries seeking nuclear weapons technology.


Neglected Tropical Disease Policy and Advocacy[edit]

In addition to his R&D activities, Prof. Hotez is a leading global health advocate and policymaker in the area of neglected tropical diseases, with an emphasis on providing impoverished populations access to essential and existing medicines for neglected tropical diseases. His 2005-06 papers in the Public Library of Science (PLOS) co-authored with thought leaders from the UK and WHO helped to consolidate the concept of the ‘NTDs’ and led to the implementation of “rapid impact packages” of essential medicines for the NTDs now reaching hundreds of millions of people in low income countries through support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other sources. These activities helped to promote the establishment of the Global Network for NTDs, which Hotez co-founded in 2006 Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (“Global Network”) with leading experts in the field. The Global Network, launched at the Clinton Global Initiative and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlights the horrific health and educational effects of neglected tropical diseases and advocates for their control and elimination. As a result of these activities, and the effort of public-private partnerships and NGOs, today more than 250 million people are receiving essential medicines for neglected tropical diseases.[3]

Hotez is also the founding Editor-In-Chief of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Neglected Tropical Diseases, the first online open access medical journal focused exclusively on neglected tropical diseases.

His papers in PLOS NTDs on the Geopolitics of NTDs provide a new framework for incorporating NTDs into U.S. foreign policy and helped to launch the concept known as ‘vaccine diplomacy’. More recently, Prof. Hotez is expanding his efforts to take on NTDs among the poor living in the U.S. and other developed countries. His 2008 PLOS NTDs paper on “Neglected infections in the United States of America” highlighted the hidden burden of NTDs in the American South while his 2012 op-ed piece in the New York Times, "Tropical Diseases: The New Plague of Poverty", emphasized the especially high burden of NTDs among the poor in Texas. His work is leading to a new global health framework based on extreme poverty regardless of whether it occurs in low- and middle-income countries or industrialized nations. Many of these concepts are articulated in his book “Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases” ASM Press.


Blue Marble Health[edit]

In January 2013 during a speech at the James Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, Texas, Professor Peter Hotez introduced the concept of “Blue Marble Health” to raise awareness on neglected tropical diseases and their disproportionate impact on the extreme poor living among the wealthiest G20 (Group of 20) countries, including 4 – 5 million Americans in the United States living on less than $2 a day. In subsequent policy papers published in Foreign Policy and PLOS NTDs, Dr. Hotez provided evidence that with some important exceptions most of the world’s NTDs paradoxically affect populations living in G20 countries, especially in areas of concentrated poverty such as northern India, southern Mexico, western China, northeastern Brazil, and even the southern United States (see map). This finding is in contrast to traditional global health views of developed vs. developing countries. Blue Marble Health has also emerged as a key concept for science and vaccine diplomacy, particularly with respect to exercising diplomatic pressure on the G20 countries to take greater responsibility for their impoverished populations and for people living in poverty everywhere.


Map of Blue Marble Health


National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine[edit]

Hotez' work among people with NTDs in Texas helped to lead to the establishment of the National School of Tropical Medicine (NSTM) at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). It is the first school in the United States solely committed to addressing the world's most pressing tropical disease issues.

The vision of the NSTM is to harness the scientific horsepower of the Texas Medical Center and apply it toward solving global health problems affecting the world's poorest people. The NSTM believes that all lives have equal value, and there is an urgent need to address diseases that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest people – otherwise forgotten people with forgotten diseases.

The National School of Tropical Medicine provides training programs to allow a new cadre of health professionals to conduct innovative fundamental, translational and clinical research in the field of tropical medicine. The NSTM also offers clinical training for tropical diseases, providing the opportunity for students and health professionals to gain valuable hands-on experience to complement their research interests, course of study or profession.

In addition, programs to address the global health policy and advocacy of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). These are infectious and parasitic diseases that initiate and perpetuate poverty and suffering, worldwide. Signature programs develop the establishment of diplomas, certificates, workshops and graduate degrees in tropical medicine. NSTM will also launch a variety of basic and biotechnology educational programs to train a new generation of scientists and health professionals.


Biography and Education[edit]

Hotez was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He received a BA in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry magna cum laude (Phi Beta Kappa) from Yale University in 1980, a PhD from Rockefeller University in 1986, and a Doctorate in Medicine from Weill Cornell Medical College in 1987. His doctoral dissertation and postdoctoral training were in the area of hookworm molecular pathogenesis and vaccine development.

He obtained pediatric residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and postdoctoral training in clinical pediatric infectious diseases and molecular parasitology at Yale University School of Medicine. Prior to becoming founding Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, Dr. Hotez was Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine at George Washington University previously and prior to that associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine.

Awards and Memberships[edit]

Hotez has received several awards throughout his career, including:


In 2008, he was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.[6] He is an ambassador of the Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP), a member of the World Health Organization Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee for WHO TDR (Special Programme on Tropical Diseases Research),[7] and in 2011, Hotez was appointed as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils.[8] He is a member of the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.[9]

Publications and Media[edit]

Hotez is the author of more than 330 scientific and technical papers on NTDs. In addition he is the author of Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases: The Neglected Tropical Diseases and Their Impact on Global Health and Development,[10] co-author of Parasitic Diseases, 5th Edition,[11] a co-editor of Krugman's Infectious Diseases of Children, 11th Edition,[12] and co-editor of Manson's Tropical Diseases, 23rd Edition and Feigin and Cherry's Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 7th Edition. In addition, Hotez writes frequently for lay audiences, including papers in Scientific American and op-ed pieces in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Huffington Post. He has been interviewed on numerous national TV and news programs, such as CNN, NPR, Charlie Rose and PRI. He has also consulted for popular television shows that highlight tropical diseases, including House and Private Practice. He has also been interviewed for an article in Science & Diplomacy.[13]


Selected scientific publications:


Selected op-eds:


Personal[edit]

Hotez has a lifelong passion and interest in tropical diseases, which he said began when he first read the book Microbe Hunters as a child. He currently lives in the Montrose area of Houston, Texas with his wife Ann and two of his four children (Rachel and Daniel). His eldest son Matthew is a musician in Washington DC and his eldest daughter Emily is working towards a PhD in developmental psychology at City University of New York.


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