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Emory Eye Center Announces Director of Its Global Ophthalmology Emory Initiative

Danny Haddad, MDSeptember 5, 2013 | (ATLANTA) Danny Haddad, MD, former director of the Atlanta-based International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), is now director of the Emory Eye Center’s Global Ophthalmology Emory Initiative effective September 1.

Haddad has served as ITI director since 2009. A partnership between Pfizer and The Task Force for Global Health, ITI coordinates the annual billion-dollar Zithromax donation program in support of the global effort to eliminate blinding trachoma by 2020.

Haddad was part of a seminal conversation about Emory’s Global Ophthalmology Emory Initiative in 2009 with Eye Center director Timothy Olsen, MD, and then-Global Ophthalmology Emory Initiative’s co-lead architect Paul Courtright, DrPH, of the Kilimanjaro Center for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO) in Tanzania. The three decided that forging partnerships with Atlanta organizations such as ITI, The Carter Center and the CDC, for example, were crucial. Additionally, the necessity of a strong, full-time leader for the initiative was suggested. Courtight and Global Ophthalmology Emory Initiative co-lead architect Susan Lewallen, MD, also of KCCO, have provided leadership for the program since its inception in 2011.

“I’m very excited about leading the Emory Global Ophthalmology Emory Initiative,” says Haddad. “With the expertise at the Emory Eye Center there are great opportunities, both internationally and here in Atlanta, through its developing collaborations with the Emory Global Health Institute, the Rollins School of Public Health, the Global Center for Safe Water and other departments. I look forward to future projects that may bring eye care to undeserved populations in multiple locations.”

“Dr. Haddad brings a wealth of knowledge and global connections to Emory,” says Timothy W. Olsen, director of Emory Eye Center. “He is a well-respected international leader in trachoma and has created a remarkable track record in effective public health policy surrounding this blinding disorder. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Haddad as our first director of the Emory Global Ophthalmology Emory Initiative following the strong leadership of Drs. Lewallen and Courtright, who both initiated the architecture of our current program.”

Haddad was born in Hoogezand, the Netherlands, and received his medical degree from the State University of Groningen, the Netherlands. After his graduation, he was a Helen Keller International (HKI) volunteer working as manager of the Irian Jaya Eye Care Project in Indonesia. Haddad continued working with HKI in several different capacities, including as Africa regional coordinator for Onchocerciasis and Trachoma, based in Niger, director for Onchocerciasis, country director for Tanzania and technical advisor for eye care, based in Senegal.

During his study he was active in training staff of eye hospitals in Africa and Asia to repair their surgical instruments and produce medical supplies using appropriate technology. 

Between positions at HKI, Haddad worked as a resident in medical microbiology at the Academic Medical Center (AMC) of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where he focused on diagnosis and treatment of parasitic diseases. He has more than 18 years of experience in blindness prevention in developing countries, with specific interests in elimination of blinding trachoma and controlling river blindness.

Before joining ITI, Haddad served as the director of the Children Without Worms program, a partnership between Johnson & Johnson and The Task Force that supports global efforts to reduce the burden of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections in children.

Haddad is a member of the board of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IABP). He serves on the Advisory Committee of the Global Trachoma Mapping Project, the Technical Advisory Committee of Helen Keller International and on the Technical Advisory Board of the END Fund and has served on the Technical Consultative Committee of the WHO’s Africa Programme for Onchocerciasis Control and is a former chairperson of the Non-Governmental Development Organization Coordination Group for Onchocerciasis control.


Media contact:  Joy Bell, 404-778-3711

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