Remembering Alan Magill, a leader and friend in the fight to end malaria

By Dr. Kent Campbell, PATH Malaria Center of Excellence. Originally posted to PATH Blog on September 23, 2015.

The late Dr. Alan Magill, director of the Malaria Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo: PATH/Todd Jennings.

The late Dr. Alan Magill, director of the Malaria Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo: PATH/Todd Jennings.

The PATH community was deeply saddened to learn this past weekend of the passing of our close colleague and dear friend, Dr. Alan Magill, director of the Malaria Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Praise for Alan and condolences for his family have come from all corners of the world, underscoring the incredible impact he made during his life and the inspiring legacy he created.

I first got to know Alan when we were early in our careers: Alan with the US Army Medical Corps, I with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In every interaction, I always came away with a clear sense that Alan was exceptionally thoughtful and considerate in his approach to issues and working with colleagues. He was unassuming and unassertive, yet a person whose opinion and perspective you wanted and needed.

He came to malaria and global health as a well-trained and insightful clinician. He had a subtle and experience-based physician’s perspective. This gave him an extraordinarily valuable foundational approach that focused on what malaria meant to each individual infected with the disease.

In many ways, Alan’s early career was the perfect preparation for his role at the Gates Foundation; he was ideally suited to lead their audacious malaria eradication effort, though neither he nor others specifically knew it. He cannot be replaced, though his job will be filled by others. I personally feel the loss of his leadership and have spent a lot of time these last few days reflecting on the progress he inspired and would have continued to inspire.

Our world has lost a great leader and a truly wonderful person, a sentiment shared by my colleagues at PATH and exemplified in their remembrances of Alan below. At PATH, we will carry on in the fight to eliminate malaria, keeping the legacy of Alan Magill at the forefront as we strive to realize his dream and rid the world of suffering from malaria.

Tributes from other PATH leaders

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