Chris White, former strategy lead for malaria advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been named co-director of the Malaria Elimination Initiative (MEI), a program of the Global Health Group at the UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences. White is based at MEI’s global headquarters in San Francisco and will work directly and collaboratively with fellow MEI co-director Roly Gosling, based at MEI’s southern Africa headquarters in Windhoek, Namibia.
In his role as co-director, White will provide strategic leadership across MEI’s portfolio, with a specific focus on advocacy, policy and resource mobilization for elimination and eradication, and overall strategy in Asia Pacific.
White is a malaria specialist and global health advocate with more than two decades of experience. His professional life began in the British military, serving on operations in East Africa and Northern Ireland for five years, before completing undergraduate studies in zoology at the University of Nottingham in 1996. During this period his growing interest in entomology culminated in a number of expeditions to the Peruvian Amazon on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution and with the approval of the Royal Geographic Society. After graduation, a year in the Usambara mountains of Tanzania cemented a desire to complete graduate studies in medical entomology and parasitology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), where he was awarded the Jervis Prize in 1998 for research on the potential negative relationship between intensified peri-urban agriculture and the population density of malaria vectors in West Africa.
White’s post-LSTM career was initially focused on vector-borne disease control in humanitarian emergencies, working for non-governmental agencies and the United Nations. He later shifted to longer-term development work with Population Services International, providing malaria-related technical assistance and training support throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia-Pacific. More recently, White has focused on global, regional and in-country advocacy for malaria elimination and spent the past few years leading the malaria advocacy investment portfolio at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.