15 September 2020 · Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy
Bill Gallo Joins GPZL as Secretariat Director
Bill Gallo joins the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy (GPZL) this month as Secretariat Director. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge in global health and diverse experiences in policy and programme management. He is excited to take on this leadership role following 33 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Bill has held a number of previous directorial and advisory positions at the CDC, most recently as Deputy Director of the Office of Insular Affairs and Senior Advisor for the Pacific Islands. Bill has spent most of his career at the CDC in field assignments, overseeing programme implementation, and serving as the primary link between health department/ministry leadership and the CDC.
“The amazing group of experts already exists and has aligned around a promising framework. I believe we have great opportunities to reach elimination goals.”
He is well-versed in collaborating with various stakeholders, including country health directors, international organizations, and regional associations. Bill oversaw management and operations of CDC’s Kenya Programmes, including PEPFAR, for 5 years before relocating to Honolulu, Hawai’i. While based in Hawai’i for 11 years, Bill served as Associate Director at the CDC Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support, and served as CDC liaison to the Pacific Islands. A prior series of domestic assignments as a public health advisor provided him experience in implementing public health programs at a variety of state and county health department settings. While headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Bill also provided short-term assistance with polio eradication and measles elimination efforts in Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, and Kenya.Bill first engaged with leprosy in 2012 when he participated in submitting a proposal to the Department of Interior that provided funding to build leprosy surveillance and clinical capacity for the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. In 2014 he accompanied a CDC Center Director to Hawaii’s Kalaupapa Community. “It was quite an inspirational experience,”
he said. “It was my first direct interaction with people living with leprosy, and it helped me begin to understand more about stigma, an important issue that still requires a lot of attention.”
Beyond leprosy, Bill has engaged with the neglected tropical diseases community through his work with lymphatic filariasis (LF) in American Samoa. There, he coordinated with CDC experts and helped raise funding to support a new push for assessment and mass drug administration activities.
Now in its third year, GPZL is coordinating in-country activities and has identified its newest country partners. Bill is excited to oversee the Partnership’s continued progress in this next phase.“The amazing group of experts has aligned around a promising framework. I believe we have great opportunities to reach elimination goals,” he said. He is particularly looking forward to country programme implementation. “The pieces are in place and it is a perfect time to focus on our country work and help get activities rolling.”
On behalf of the Partnership and the members, we welcome Bill to the Secretariat and wish him success in his new position.
Written by Caroline Cassard, Communications Specialist, Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy