The Task Force was initially founded as a temporary organization to work on a single global health issue – low childhood vaccination rates in developing countries. Our ability to forge effective partnerships, as well as our scientific expertise, have enabled us to expand our work to focus on an array of large-scale health problems affecting vulnerable populations.

As reflected in our original name, The Task Force for Child Survival, our early work focused on health issues affecting children around the world. We later became The Task Force for Global Health to reflect the expanded breadth of our programs to address the health needs of populations around the world.

Following are defining moments in our history:


  • The Task Force for Child Survival is founded at the Bellagio conference by former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Bill Foege and his colleagues Carol Walters and Bill Watson, with the specific goal of raising low childhood immunization rates in developing countries.
  • The Task Force’s founding partners were the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Rockefeller Foundation, The World Bank, and the United Nations Development Programme.


  • The Task Force hosts “Protecting the World’s Children,” a conference in Cartagena, Colombia, to spur countries to commit to the child survival goals set at the Bellagio conference.


  • The Mectizan Donation Program is launched to control and eliminate onchocerciasis (river blindness). Merck’s commitment to donate the drug anti-parasitic Mectizan ushers in the era known as “pharmacophilanthropy” that has since resulted in billions of dollars of donations of essential medicines for neglected tropical diseases and other infectious diseases.


  • The Task Force hosts the conference “Protecting the World’s Children: An Agenda for the 1990s” in Tallories, France, with a focus on reducing maternal and childhood mortality.
  • Polio eradication work begins.


  • The Task Force hosts the conference “Protecting the World’s Children: A Call for Action” in Bangkok, Thailand, with a focus on achieving universal childhood immunization rates and identifying child health goals for the decade.


  • The Task Force for Child Survival becomes The Task Force for Child Survival and Development to reflect an expanded mission.
  • Countries commit to the child survival goals set at the Bellagio conference at a Task Force conference convened in Catagena, Colombia..


  • All Kids Count is founded to foster the development of community-based immunization registries for children in the United States.


  • The Task Force hosts the conference “Achieving Health: New Perspectives on Integrated Services and Their Contributions to Mid-Decade Goals” in New Delhi, India, to review progress in reaching goals and affirm the role of integrated maternal and child health delivery services.


  • The Task Force begins work with partners to help build the Polio Eradication Laboratory Network.


  • The Task Force and The Carter Center sponsor “Children First: A Global Forum” that brings together 66 countries to improve the lives of children with a focus on health, education, safety, protection, and economic security.
  • The Malarone Donation Program is launched with support from GlaxoSmithKline for treatment of drug-resistant malaria in East Africa.


  • All Kids Count is launched to help community-based immunization registries become fully operational in the United States.


  • The Task Force hosts the “Conference on Global Disease Elimination and Eradication as Public Health Strategies.”


  • The Center for Child Well-being is established to develop ways to nurture physical, cognitive, social, and emotional strengths in children.


  • The PARTNERS TB Control Program is launched to provide all people with equal access to treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
  • Bill Foege retires as executive director and is succeeded by Mark Rosenberg, MD, MPP.


  • The Public Health Informatics Institute is started to strengthen public health’s approach to conceiving and using information systems.
  • The Global Road Safety Steering Committee is formed to address the crisis of road traffic injuries.


  • The Task Force begins work to develop training programs, tools, and strategies for developing countries heavily burdened by HIV/AIDS.


  • The Mebendazole Donation Initiative (later renamed Children Without Worms) is launched with support from Johnson & Johnson to reduce the burden of soil-transmitted helminth infections (intestinal worms) in school-age children in Africa, Asia, and Central America.
  • The Polio Antiviral Drugs Initiative is formed to support polio eradication.
  • The Lymphatic Filariasis Support Center joins The Task Force to assist with global efforts to eliminate lymphatic filariasis.


  • The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable joins The Task Force to develop and implement a national strategy to eliminate viral hepatitis.
  • At a Task Force symposium, leading hearts and minds in global health reflect on the critical importance of collaboration. The symposium results in the formation of the Center for Global Health Collaboration at The Task Force.


  • The Uganda Immunization Training Program is established to provide training and materials on immunization issues in Uganda.
  • The project called Global Health Promise joins The Task Force to protect mothers and their children from trafficking, prostitution, and sex exploitation.
  • The African Health Workforce Project becomes part of The Task Force. The project focuses on strengthening human resource information systems for healthcare workers to ensure a strong healthcare workforce.


  • The Task Force moves to a new headquarters building in Decatur, GA.
  • Voices for Vaccines, a group dedicated to providing science-based information about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases, joins The Task Force.
  • TEPHINET (Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network) merges with The Task Force.


  • The Task Force changes its names to The Task Force for Global Health to reflect the expanded emphasis on health for all.
  • The International Trachoma Initiative merges with The Task Force and begins scaling up efforts to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem.


  • The Task Force brings together global health leaders to examine the role of compassion in global health.
  • Real Collaboration: What It Takes for Global Health, a book co-authored by Task Force leadership, is published.


  • The Center for Vaccine Equity is founded to provide all people with equal access to vaccines and to reduce the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • The Coalition for Cholera Prevention and Control is founded to develop a comprehensive strategy for cholera prevention and control.



  • The Task Force is recognized by the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce with a Global Impact Award in the Global Business Growth category.
  • Mark Rosenberg is awarded the Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the World Trade Center Atlanta.


  • Mark Rosenberg retires as president and chief executive officer. He is succeeded by Dave Ross, ScD.
  • DeKalb County approves the sale of its 330 W. Ponce de Leon Ave. facility to The Task Force, which reached capacity in its Swanton Way headquarters building in Decatur.
  • The Task Force receives the$2-million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest humanitarian award.


For more about our history, watch our documentary “30 Years of Seeing the Faces


Each month, we’ll send you our e-newsletter with the latest about our work around the world to provide all people with access to the means for good health. If you are in the European Union, please sign up here