Little did we know when we began our journey how much we would depend on many hardworking experts who struggle with limited resources, competing needs, turf-battles and just manage—somehow—to keep the US public safe from infectious disease threats.
Leading among them is Ms. Tigi Ward, RN of the Lubbock Department of Health. No one has taught us more about the absolute need for a robust, doctor-, nurse- and veterinarian-friendly electronic surveillance system. The people of Lubbock have much to be grateful for—as do we—from her tireless efforts and wise counsel. She is a Texas treasure.
Dr. Robert Kadlec, a USAF Colonel, practicing physician and true master of public health works on the National Security Council. He has served the past four administrations as a high-level bioterrorism advisor, inventor, and creator of much of the civilian biodefense architecture now in operation in the US. It was Bob who led us out of the darkness.
Dr. David Franz and Dr. Tracey McNamara of Midwest Research Institute gave us the benefit of many decades of hands-on experience in dealing with infectious disease emergencies and the valuable process of long-term public health planning. Dr. Franz led numerous teams into Iraq to uncover what we know about Saddam Hussein's biological weapons program— which was much closer to fruition than the vast majority of newspaper accounts have the patience or column-inches to make clear—and he did the same in the much more dicey inquiry into the former Soviet Union's biological weapons program.
Dr. McNamara spoke out—loudly and often enough to lose her job as chief pathologist at the Bronx zoo—when she realized that Federal officials were ignoring the clearest possible evidence that West Nile Fever had entered the US. The disease is now with us permanently, and thousands of people and animals will contract the illness every year. This probably could have been avoided if Dr. McNamara's wisdom had been heeded.
In the annals of post World War II medical practice, there are probably no greater heroes than Dr. Bruce Tempest of the Indian Health Service in Gallup, New Mexico and Dr. Gary Simpson of the New Mexico Department