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Sue Gerber, senior program officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s polio team and an alumna of New Mexico State University, will visit NMSU Feb. 20 and 21, 2017. (Courtesy Photo) FEB17

NMSU Alumna, Gates Foundation Officer to Visit Campus, Speak to Students and Community

Sue Gerber, an alumna of New Mexico State University working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help eradicate polio to the Middle East and Africa will visit campus next week and speak to faculty, staff, students and members of the Las Cruces community.

Gerber, the senior program officer for the Gates Foundation’s polio team, will visit NMSU Monday and Tuesday. Gerber graduated from NMSU in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in community health. Gerber later went on to earn her master’s in public health from Walden University, and will finish her doctorate in public health/epidemiology from Walden this year.

“I look forward to my visit to the NMSU campus and welcome the opportunity to meet with students who share my interest in public health,” Gerber said. “It is quite an honor to be invited to share the work I have been involved in.”

Gerber’s visit is hosted by the NMSU Foundation in collaboration with the College of Health and Social Services, which invited Gerber to visit her alma mater.

As the Gates Foundation polio team’s senior program officer, Gerber manages a portfolio of grants, contracts and consultations that support surveillance, program operations, operational research and innovations, and is a member of the global surveillance task team for polio. Gerber is on the Country Support team that focuses on countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, including Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.

Donna Wagner, dean of NMSU’s College of Health and Social Services, said the college is happy to welcome Gerber back to the college and the university.

“Nothing is more effective in encouraging students to work toward a career goal than hearing from someone who graduated from their program and gone on to craft a meaningful professional life,” Wagner said. “We hope that our students are inspired by their time with Sue and that Sue enjoys her return visit to the college after all these years.”

Before joining the Gates Foundation, Gerber worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, earning more than 24 years of experience managing immunization, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted disease prevention programs both nationally and internationally. Most recently, she served as deputy director of the CDC Global AIDS program in Namibia. Gerber was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa, supporting Liberia’s immunization program.

On Monday, Gerber will join members of the Southern Area Health Education Center, based at the NMSU College of Health and Social Services, on a tour of colonias in Doña Ana County. She is also scheduled to visit a class in the Department of Public Health Science, and host the seminar, “Surveillance: A Key Strategy in Polio Eradication.”

On Tuesday, Gerber will host two roundtable discussions and tour campus. The first roundtable discussion, with community health leaders who volunteer at the college, will be from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. The second roundtable, with members of the College of Health and Social Services student organizations, will be from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. For more information on the roundtables, please contact Robert Peterson at 575-646-4358 or peterson@nmsu.edu.

Gerber is also scheduled to address the region’s Rotary Club chapters – including El Paso, Silver City, Las Cruces and Alamogordo – at the Rio Grande Rotary Club of Las Cruces luncheon at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Gerber asked to speak at the luncheon to recognize the Rotary Club’s polio eradication efforts.

Author:  Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

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