HRSA's Austin Demby Honored

Kofi Appenteng, president and CEO of the Africa-America Institute, congratulates HRSA's Austin Demby
At left, Kofi Appenteng, president and CEO of the Africa-America Institute, congratulated HRSA's Austin Demby as the 2018 recipient of the Institute's Distinguished Alumnus Award on Sept. 25.

 

Austin Demby, Deputy Director of HRSA's Office of Global Health - whose work helped stem the spread of HIV/AIDS and slow the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in his native Sierra Leone - has been recognized by a leading international development organization.

Demby received the 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Africa-America Institute at the organization's 65th annual awards dinner last month in New York City. The AAI presents the honor annually to a graduate of one of its education and training programs who has made significant contributions to their country or field of work.

An epidemiologist and virologist by training, Demby was the recipient of an African Graduate Fellowship Project grant to study in the United States in 1983 and went on to become a founding member of the CDC's Global AIDS Program from 1999 to 2006 - helping to lead efforts to establish HIV offices in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

From 2011-16, he served as the Director and Deputy Principal for the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), where he managed the Department's $2 Billion global HIV/AIDS portfolio.

In 2014-2015, Demby played a key role in the U.S. Government's response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

He was the first official from the United States Government to conduct a rapid technical assessment of the situation in Sierra Leone - the country of his birth, to which he deployed five times, covering every stage of the Ebola crisis - and to sound the alarm to the global community about worsening conditions on the ground.

 

In accepting the distinguished alumnus award from the Institute, Demby reflected on that Ebola experience and the help rendered by legions of young volunteers.
In accepting the distinguished alumnus award from the Institute HRSA Exit Disclaimer, Demby reflected on that Ebola experience and the help rendered by legions of young volunteers.

 

"As this potential global catastrophe unfolded, one of the bright lights and major lessons we all learned was the importance of young people in emergency preparedness and response," he recalled. "These were university students, medical students, nursing students, communications students, high school students, employed and unemployed youth. 

Demby said the young activists were "able to mount an unprecedented and formidable national response to Ebola," using "all the tools of social mobilization at their disposal … They spared the world a global calamity."

"The youth are ready and determined to take the future of Africa in their hands," Demby told the audience, which included presidents, ministers, ambassadors and captains of industry from the continent of Africa and elsewhere.

"Let us not wait for epidemics to tap into such an extraordinary resource. Let us provide them the space and resources to actively participate in nation building now." 

Date Last Reviewed:  October 2018