RPCV medical expert Anne Rimoin (Benin) on MSNBC

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64)


Last night on MSNBC Brian Williams had on Anne Rimoin (Benin 1993-95) who is a noted epidemiological. Williams said the daughter of a friend had just been brought home from her Peace Corps country, and Dr. Rimoin said she was confident all this would pass and the Peace Corps would resume its great work.

Anne W. Rimoin, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a Professor of Epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Infectious Disease Division of the Geffen School of Medicine. She is an internationally recognized expert on global health, emerging infectious diseases, vaccine preventable diseases and disease surveillance systems in low-resource settings. She is the Director of the Fielding School’s Center for Global and Immigrant Health.

Dr. Rimoin’s research, conducted in the some of the most difficult areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has yielded several important discoveries including the emergence of monkeypox since the cessation of smallpox vaccination, and the identification of a new pathogen (Bas Congo Virus) and novel strains of Simian Foamy Virus in humans. Her work has led to fundamental understandings of the long-term consequences of Ebolavirus infection in survivors, including the oldest known cohorts that are now up to more than 40 years post-infection. Dr. Rimoin’s team is also leading efforts to assess vaccine efficacy and durability of immune response to the experimental Ebola vaccine in outbreak settings in DRC. Other projects in the DRC include leading health mapping activities for better disease surveillance, serosurveillance studies to better understand population immunity to vaccine preventable diseases, epidemiologic studies of health care workers and other high-risk populations for emerging pathogens, and coordinated studies of the epidemiology, natural history, and pathogenesis of acute and asymptomatic viral hemorrhagic fever infections in populations living at the animal-human interface.

The overall aim of Dr. Rimoin’s research is to understand factors that influence the emergence and spread of infectious diseases through better disease surveillance and epidemiologic studies. Rimoin has been working in the DRC since 2002, where she founded the UCLA-DRC Health Research and Training program to train U.S. and Congolese epidemiologists to conduct high-impact infectious disease research in low-resource, logistically-complex settings.

Dr. Rimoin has published more than 70 research articles and book chapters. Her work has been featured in The New York TimesThe AtlanticThe EconomistThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostWIREDDiscoverScientific AmericanPopular ScienceForbesVoice of AmericaThe HillNational GeographicNature and Science. She also appears frequently on television and radio discussing major issues surrounding disease emergence and ecology of human illness transmitted from animals.

Her research and training program has received major support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the US National Institutes of Health (NIAID-NIH), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Faucett Catalyst Fund and other private and public organizations.

In addition, Dr. Rimoin has contributed extensively to professional societies, national and international committees focused on global health, emerging infections, zoonoses and vaccine preventable diseases. She has been a strong advocate for capacity building in low resource settings and going the extra mile to conduct disease surveillance where it its most difficult to do.

Dr. Rimoin earned her B.A. (African History) at Middlebury College, M.P.H. (Community Health Sciences) at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Ph.D. (International Health) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa where she began her career in public health working on the guinea worm eradication initiative with UNICEF and the Carter Center.


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  • We get a lot of stuff about Dr. Rimoin’s credentials but very little that tells us that the Peace Corps will ‘resume its great work’. What’s the poiint?

  • I think it is the very first broadcast media mention of Peace Corps’ evacuation of all Volunteers. The doctor was not on the program to discuss Peace Corps, but the virus. Brian Williams brought Peace Corps up and said he had a Volunteer in the family. I hope MSNBC follows up on it. I think the overriding issue, right now, is the need of these PCVs to get adequate medical and financial support from Peace Corps. The more publicity, the better.

    They are being told to “self-isolate” for 14 days. Many have no good way to do that w/o risking exposure to family and friends. Some have been told by their families not to come home, for that reason. They are being treated as if they were civil service employees with all those financial resources. They don’t.

    Peace Corps had not completed the evacuation of all the sites, as of yesterday. I hope the story gets more publicity.

  • Yes, my concern is similar to Ms Roll, namely that the Trump Administration would be happy to see the end of Peace Corps, and that Covid-19 made possible the best excuse to terminating it, period.

    I would be glad to hear from Judy Olsen a flat out denial of my suspicion.

    Walter Blass, Country Director/PC/Afghanistan 1966-68

  • She was great. Williams brought up Peace Corps and she spoke at length & off the cuff. Thanks Doc!

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