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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Emaad Hassan ’07

Atlanta, GA | Islamabad, Pakistan

Biology and International Relations

After years of work with the CDC, he currently leads a team as Deputy Country Director for CDC in South Sudan.

Emaad Hassan ’07 began his journey at Knox with the aspirations of being a medical doctor. After moving from Pakistan to the United States, he began his journey as a biology major. He later added an international relations minor after taking classes with Professor of Political Science Karen Kampwirth, who sparked his interest in that area. “I also took one women's studies course that opened my brain up to realities of sexism that I was blind to,” he said.

Hassan expanded his international focus when he self-designed a study abroad experience in Turkey. “Knox helped me with building up that patience and perseverance and advocacy for what you believe in and what you put in good arguments,” he said. His efforts to design his study abroad paid off, allowing him to create life-long memories. He learned to speak Turkish and found several friends he calls family. “A new language usually means you've adopted a new culture because language brings certain influences to personality,” he said.

After graduating from Knox, Hassan worked in cancer research histopathology at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT) and Harvard. He spent time shadowing his supervisor who worked as an oncologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, conducting diagnostic work for cancer patients. In this role, Hassan realized quickly that this line of medical work was not for him. Instead, his curiosity was sparked by a new profession he had discovered—public health.

He decided to move to Istanbul, Turkey where he worked in corporate for nearly one year, before earning his master’s degree in public health from Cardiff University in Wales, UK. 

He eventually moved back to Pakistan to work with non-profits, helping to institutionalize sexual and reproductive health in the high school education system of Pakistan. He later worked on refugee resettlement at the International Rescue Committee which led him to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His first assignment with the CDC was in Pakistan, where he was responsible for building the capacity of the Pakistani health sector for pandemic preparedness and response. Later he was embedded by CDC with the Department of Navy at the Naval Medical Research Unit-3 in Cairo, Egypt.

In 2018, as a global health expert, Hassan was involved in managing the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). When the first cases of COVID-19 began, his focus remained on the DRC and its challenges with Ebola. During the COVID-19 pandemic before vaccines came about, Hassan flew into the DRC with a small team to help manage their Ebola crisis in the remote town of Mbandaka. 

“Working there for three months felt like three years because we were working 24/7. Life over there was challenging due to limited electricity and water, and food” he said.

After contracting COVID-19 in the DRC, Hassan was evacuated back to the United States where he remotely provided technical assistance to the Middle East North Africa Region with COVID vaccination roll-out. 

After years of work with the CDC, he currently leads a team as Deputy Country Director for the CDC in South Sudan, where he manages 80 clinics to provide care and treatment for HIV patients through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). He lives alongside his U.S. Embassy colleagues in a camp made up of prefabricated containers that have been converted into apartments. Because of ongoing political and tribal conflict in the country, Hassan and his team are always prepared for an emergency. “There's ongoing communal violence and civil unrest in the country. We have a curfew of 7:00 P.M. every day and there are very few places that we can go to off compound. We travel in armored vehicles and we have to use radios to inform our movements wherever we go. Life here is pretty intense,” he said.

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Printed on Monday, July 22, 2024