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Program Staff: Guinea Worm Eradication Program

Guinea Worm Program Staff

Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben, Ph.D.
Director, Guinea Worm Eradication Program

Ernesto Ruiz-Tiben joined The Carter Center in 1992 after more than 27 years of service as a commissioned officer of the U.S. Public Health Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 1998 Ruiz-Tiben has served as director of the Carter Center's Guinea Worm (Dracunculiasis) Eradication Program. In this capacity, he works in conjunction with the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Research, Training, and Eradication of Dracunculiasis at the CDC, monitoring and disseminating information about the status of the global campaign and providing technical assistance to national eradication programs. 

During his tenure at CDC, Ruiz-Tiben headed the Helminthic Disease Branch, Division of Parasitic Disease, National Center for Infectious Diseases. He has worked to control the disease schistosomiasis in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Suriname, Brazil, Egypt, and Liberia, and dengue fever in the Caribbean region. For this outstanding work, he received special commendations from the U.S. Public Health Service. Additionally, in recognition of his contributions to the global initiative to eradicate dracunculiasis, the CDC in 1990 awarded him the U.S. Public Health Service's Outstanding Service Medal. 

Ruiz-Tiben received a bachelor of science degree from Catholic University in Puerto Rico. He holds a master of science degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Public Health and a doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston. Read full bio. 

Donald Hopkins, M.D., M.P.H.
Special Advisor for Guinea Worm Eradication

Dr. Donald R. Hopkins is the former director of health programs at The Carter Center. He first joined the Center in 1987 as the senior consultant for the health programs, leading the Center's efforts to eradicate Guinea worm disease and river blindness worldwide. Hopkins' professional experience includes serving as deputy director (1984-1987) and acting director (1985) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He was an assistant professor of tropical public health at Harvard School of Public Health, and he directed the Smallpox Eradication/Measles Control Program in Sierra Leone.

Hopkins attended the Institute of European Studies at the University of Vienna. He received his bachelor of science degree from Morehouse College, his doctor of medicine from the University of Chicago, and his master of public health from the Harvard School of Public Health. He is board certified in pediatrics and public health and has been a member of seven U.S. delegations to the World Health Assembly. Read Full Bio.

Adam Weiss
Associate Director, Guinea Worm Eradication Program

Adam Weiss served as a Carter Center technical advisor to national Guinea worm eradication programs in Ethiopia and Ghana between 2005 and 2011, providing technical and program management support for all interventions to stop the transmission of Guinea worm disease.

Prior to joining The Carter Center, Weiss was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, focusing on improving access to water and sanitation facilities, increasing awareness about HIV/AIDS, strengthening community-based health education, and assisting in the effort to eradicate Guinea worm disease.

In his role as associate director of the Guinea Worm Eradication Program, Weiss continues to provide technical support for the national programs of South Sudan, Mali, Chad, and Ethiopia.
Weiss graduated cum laude from Ripon College with a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology and politics and government. He currently is pursuing a master of public health degree in prevention science from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

Hubert Zirimwabagabo, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Director, Guinea Worm Eradication Program

Dr. Hubert Zirimwabagabo worked as a Carter Center technical advisor to the National Guinea Worm Eradication Program in Chad from April 2014 to April 2015; he provided technical and managerial support, supervising all interventions to stop transmission of Guinea worm disease within five endemic zones in the southwest regions of Chad. Previously, he was a medical coordinator at the American Refugee Committee in Rwanda, where he coordinated curative, preventative, and community health services for more than 16,000 Congolese refugees in the Nyabiheke refugee camp.

In his role as associate director of the Center's Guinea Worm Eradication Program beginning in 2015, Zirimwabagabo continues to provide technical support and oversight of The Carter Center's assistance to the national Guinea worm eradication programs in Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, and South Sudan.

Zirimwabagabo received a bachelor of science degree in general medicine from the University of Rwanda and holds a master of public health degree from Boston University and an international diploma in humanitarian assistance from Fordham University.

James A. Zingeser, D.V.M., M.P.H.
Senior Project Advisor, Guinea Worm Eradication Program 

Dr. James A. Zingeser is an epidemiologist who has worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Carter Center since 1989. Zingeser trained in clinical veterinary medicine at Michigan State University and public health epidemiology at the University of Michigan. He began his career at CDC in 1989 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer and subsequently worked throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia on projects ranging from Guinea worm and polio eradication to trachoma and meningococcal meningitis control. In the course of his career, Zingeser has been posted to one ministry of agriculture, two African ministries of health, and the World Health Organization. He participated in the first Guinea Worm Eradication Program mission to Togo in 1989 and joined the Center's Guinea worm efforts full time in 1995, as the resident technical advisor in the Republic of Niger. He then returned to Carter Center headquarters as a senior epidemiologist in 1998 and launched the Trachoma Control Program in seven countries.

Beginning in 2009, Zingeser was posted by the CDC to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome to build a One Health Partnership for the control of diseases at the human-animal interface. In April 2014, Zingeser became the second CDC Ebola Response Team lead in the Republic of Guinea, early in the epidemic. He subsequently returned three more times for Ebola control duty in Sierra Leone and Guinea before returning to the Carter Center in March 2016.

Renn McClintic-Doyle
Office Manager, Guinea Worm Eradication Program

As office manager with primary responsibility for the Guinea Worm Eradication Program, Renn McClintic-Doyle maps disease prevalence; archives publications; produces newsletters, journal articles, and health education flip charts; coordinates foreign travel; and works with overseas consultants.

McClintic-Doyle is pursuing a bachelor's degree in health care administration from the University of Phoenix.

Christiane Williams
Program Assistant, Guinea Worm Eradication Program

Christiane Williams provides support to the Guinea Worm Eradication Program by coordinating travel plans with overseas consultants and managing the French-language Guinea Worm Wrap-Up newsletter.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Ambassador College, Williams worked in the admissions office for the Emory University School of Law. Later, she worked with Associated Colleges of the South, where she coordinated technology workshops for the Faculty Development Program and the Blended Learning Initiative, developed and maintained the website, and produced the quarterly newsletter. She also worked with faculty and administrators to promote and foster collaboration through the use of technology. She speaks French, Creole and Spanish.

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