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The Eradicator: Ellyn W. Ogden, MPH

Updated: Feb 6

Ellyn W. Ogden, MPH has been the Worldwide Polio Eradication Coordinator and Technical Director for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and a Senior Technical Advisor for Health and Child Survival since 1997. She is responsible for the USAID’s $65 million annual polio eradication directive that supports disease surveillance, communications, and civil society engagement in over 25 countries in Africa, South Asia, and the Near East. Recognizing the need for equity and access to health services for all children, Ms. Ogden has directed special attention to children in conflict countries and among marginalized or under-served communities.

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A graduate of Tulane University (B.A. International Relations) and the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (MPH International Health with a focus in Epidemiology and Infectious Disease Control), Ellyn has over 30 years of international public health experience in the areas of child survival, disease prevention and control, health communication, and health and human rights. During her career, Ms Ogden has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Papua New Guinea and as a John’s Hopkins University Health and Child Survival Fellow with USAID’s Latin America Bureau. She has authored numerous peer reviewed papers and is a frequent guest lecturer. Ms. Ogden is a Member of the Polio Eradication Regional Certification Committee for Europe. Ms. Ogden is featured as a key actor in global health in the premier undergraduate textbook Global Health 101. In 2009, Ms. Ogden received USAID’s Award for Heroism for her successful efforts to negotiate “Ceasefires and Days of Tranquility” in several conflict countries in Africa and Asia. She is also the recipient of Rotary International’s prestigious “Paul Harris Fellows Award” for Humanitarian Service.

Ms. Ogden’s Prescription for Success:

Number 1: Don’t be afraid to speak your opinion if it’s well-reasoned and you really have honest questions about it.

Number 2: Don’t be so serious, and have fun.

Number 3: You can make important contributions to this world if you seize the moment.

Connect with Ms. Ogden

Website for USAID: Ellyn Ogden on Linkedin Notable quotes from Ms. Ogden’s interview:

With every job I try to learn something that I didn’t know before.
What you begin to realize pretty quickly when you work on these global scales is that the epidemiology and science is one part of it.
Understanding these cultural and socio-economic barriers are really the keys to success.
I realized that I could no longer sit there silently and listening when I saw something or heard something that didn’t make sense.
to ask questions to understand the diversity around you to build relationships outside of your own culture.
You can make important contributions to this world if you seize the moment.
Don’t be afraid to speak your opinion if it’s well-reasoned and you really have honest questions about it.

Access the Show Transcript Here

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