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SEATTLE -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today that Peter Piot, M.D., Ph.D., has joined the foundation’s Global Health Program as a senior fellow until April 30. A distinguished academic and accomplished leader in the global effort to fight HIV/AIDS, Piot served from 1995 to 2008 as the founding executive director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
“Peter is a rigorous scientist and a passionate advocate for global health,” said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the foundation’s Global Health Program. “The foundation and our partners will benefit greatly from his deep experience and his insight into the health challenges facing developing countries.”
As a senior fellow, Piot will advise the foundation on its global health strategy, including its support for efforts to fight HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
“I am encouraged by the growing enthusiasm and support for improving health in the developing world,” said Dr. Piot. “The Gates Foundation has played a central role in making this progress possible, and I look forward to working closely with my colleagues at the foundation to build on this momentum.”
While at UNAIDS, Piot built a broad international coalition against the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, including both governments and civil society groups. He successfully advocated for increased funding for and attention to the epidemic. Global investments to fight HIV/AIDS grew from $250 million in 1996 to $10 billion in 2007.
Piot holds a medical degree from the University of Ghent in Belgium. In 1976, while in Zaire pursuing his Ph.D. in microbiology, he co-discovered the Ebola virus. Piot has held several academic positions and pioneered a series of collaborative programs in sub-Saharan Africa, including Project SIDA in Kinshasa, Zaire, the first international program on HIV in Africa.