Remembering Aryc Mosher: Global Health Advocate, LGBTQIA+ Activist, and A Friend to All

Aryc W. Mosher. Photo courtesy of Paul Emerson.

The Task Force for Global Health is mourning the loss of our dear friend and fellow advocate for ending neglected tropical diseases, Aryc Wesley Mosher, 56, Senior Trachoma Technical Advisor with USAID’s Neglected Tropical Disease Program. Mosher passed away unexpectedly on July 1.

Mosher was more than just a colleague or advisor, he was a true friend and a beacon of hope for those he served and worked alongside, the embodiment of service to others.

“Aryc had a magical ability to connect with people, and he injected a hefty dose of his passion and sense of humor into everything he did,” said Dr. Patrick Lammie, Director of The Task Force’s Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center.

“Aryc was a truly unique person who radiated joy and compassion. He had a boundless capacity for welcoming individuals into his life and making them feel special. Professionally, he brought people together and elevated the voices of those who often go unheard. He was a devoted friend and beloved colleague who will be deeply missed” said Katie Gass, Director of Research for The Task Force’s Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center 

Mosher’s pivotal role in leading USAID’s trachoma elimination efforts can’t be overstated. As the lead representative for USAID in the trachoma community, he dedicated himself to supporting community distribution of Zithromax®, which became a lifeline for many in regions plagued with trachoma. He tirelessly advocated for alternative treatment protocols and strengthened quality control and assurance measures for eye surgery.

Mosher was also the agency’s primary liaison across key countries in Africa, which allowed him to lead efforts that drove progress towards eliminating the disease. His tireless advocacy changed the public health landscape for the better, and his passion will continue to inspire others as they work towards making a difference in their communities.

In addition to his role at USAID, Mosher’s prior work in the neglected tropical disease (NTD) community included stints at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a consultant to the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI) and Sightsavers International, and The Carter Center, where he lived and worked in Ghana helping advise the National Guinea Worm Eradication Program.

I remember meeting Aryc the first time in 2005 and being absolutely struck by the sparkle in his blue eyes. I could see a soul so alive with passion, joy, curiosity, kindness, and compassion for others. I knew instantly that we’d be more than colleagues. I knew that despite his going to Ghana for The Carter Center and my being in Atlanta, Georgia, we’d find ways to laugh together. In every meeting since that first, Aryc consistently shared his passion for life, for helping others, for laughing and loving with a gorgeous sparkle in his eyes. Aryc shared his soul, and I’m forever grateful; and so are the countless millions that he served” said Kelly Callahan, Director of The Carter Center’s Trachoma Control Program.

Photo courtesy of the International Trachoma Initiative. From left to right, Kelly Callahan, Aryc Mosher, Paul Emerson in New York City during the November 2019 Trachoma Expert Committee Meeting.
Photo courtesy of COR-NTD. Ary Mosher (fifth from the left) at a COR-NTD Annual Meeting with former US President Jimmy Carter (first from the right).

Mosher’s passion for serving others was evident in all aspects of his life. He was a tireless advocate for marginalized communities and worked diligently to improve the health and wellbeing of those most in need. Mosher was well-loved in his community and volunteered for more than 15 years with the Atlanta Pride Committee, his final role serving as the vice chair of the committee’s board of directors.

“Aryc always saw what was possible in people—not just what they currently were. There were so many times Aryc said things to me or about me and I wondered ‘who is he talking about?’ but it always made me realize that I could do better, I could be better” said Stephanie Palmer, Trachoma Technical Advisor at FHI 360.

Whenever he could, Mosher shared his creative talents to document the journey to end NTDs. In 2018, Mosher submitted his spellbinding photography to ITI’s 20th Anniversary Humans Against Trachoma photo contest and was the second prize winner. Last month, The Task Force had the honor of having Mosher attend and participate in ITI’s bi-annual Trachoma Expert Committee Meeting, an independent body of internationally recognized experts who review country applications for donations of Zithromax®. 

Photo courtesy of Aryc Mosher. Bahurawa (2017): A Hopeful Eye on Elimination – A young woman participates in one of the very last trachoma prevalence surveys in Bahurawa, Nepal. She, along with the Ministry of Health of Nepal and its supporting partners, hopes that she does not have any signs of trichiasis. Aryc Mosher took this photograph while working with USAID’s ENVISION project at RTI International.

His colleagues will remember Mosher’s kindness, thirst for knowledge, enthusiasm for improving life and the lives of others, and his tenacious commitment to ending NTDs. He loved the outdoors, travel, gardening, and the arts, such as watercolor, quilting, and photography.

“If it feels like we’ve lost so much in Aryc’s passing; that’s an excellent reminder of how very much we had during his lifetime and how much he touched us all and changed the world” said Lisa Rotondo, Senior Director of Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases at RTI International.

His unwavering commitment was truly admirable, and he leaves behind a world that is better because of his selfless service. His contributions to the world will not be forgotten, and his spirit will continue to inspire us all to serve others with passion, kindness, and compassion.

If you knew Mosher and would like to share a memory of him, you can contribute to Aryc W. Mosher’s kudoboard.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Explore More Posts

Scroll to Top