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Gallery of PAHO Directors
Fred Lowe Soper was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, USA, on December 13, 1893. He received his M.D. from Rush Medical College of the University of Chicago in 1918 and his doctorate from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He joined the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1920. He took part in the hookworm campaigns in Brazil and Paraguay from 1920 through 1927. He then became regional director of the foundation s International Health Division at Rio de Janeiro and was actively involved in the study of and eradication efforts against yellow fever and malaria. In 1947 he became director of the newly reorganized Pan American Sanitary Organization, at a particularly critical time in its history. Dr. Soper and the governing bodies of the Organization negotiated its continued existence as an independent entity and as the Regional Office for the Americas of the newly formed World Health Organization (WHO). Dr. Soper was reelected twice as director. During his tenure the Organization's work was significantly expanded and systematically decentralized. Dr. Soper championed the attack on smallpox and urged the Directing Council in 1949 to call for a hemisphere-wide eradication program. Three international research and training centers (INCAP, PANAFTOSA, and CEPANZO, now INPPAZ) were established during his tenure, which lasted until 1959. He died on February 9, 1977.
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