Who We Are

We take on big problems.

We have real impact.

We take on big problems.

We have real impact.

We take on the world’s worst and most intractable diseases to eliminate them or bring them firmly under public health control while strengthening health systems so that countries can protect the health of their populations.

The Task Force for Global Health is an independent, 501(c)3, nongovernmental organization based in Atlanta, GA, USA, with a field office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Our programs focus on eliminating diseases and protecting populations. Since our founding in 1984, we have taken on some of the world’s most pressing and complex global health problems, because we know that—working through powerful global collaborations and goal-driven partnerships—we can solve those problems. 

Our Vision and Values

We are values driven. We value the lives of all people and believe they should have equitable access to the services that lead to healthier lives.

We solve large-scale health problems by:

  • Forging partnerships that catalyze action and change lives;
  • Applying innovative thinking and rigorous science; and
  • Practicing deep compassion for the people whom we serve.
Our Core Values:
  • Collaboration – We believe that partnerships are essential, and that organizations working together have a much greater impact.
  • Global Health Equity and Social Justice – We work to provide all people, especially the world’s poorest people, with opportunities to lead healthy, productive lives.
  • Stewardship – We pride ourselves in the wise and judicious management of the resources entrusted to us.
  • Consequential Compassion – We link compassion to effective actions by being aware of the suffering of others, understanding the causes of that suffering, and engaging in informed actions to alleviate it.

Meet The Task Force

Achievement Highlights

We helped raise childhood immunization rates in developing countries from 20 to 80 percent in 6 years -- from 1984 (the year we we were founded) to 1990.​

Managing billions of dollars worth of medicines from pharmaceutical companies annually for the elimination of three NTDs – trachoma, river blindness, and lymphatic filariasis.

Leading a new approach that allows health care providers in the United States to automatically send information about reportable diseases to public health agencies using an innovative electronic method.

Managing the largest disease mapping project ever undertaken, the Global Trachoma Mapping Project, using a smartphone-based application called LINKS.

Supporting the simultaneous global “switch” of the type of oral polio vaccine used in routine immunizations, which is a vital step in eradicating polio.

Supporting the design and implementation of strong immunization record systems in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

Accordion Content

Our programs share a common collaborative approach originally pioneered to eradicate smallpox. The Task Force serves as the secretariat or administrative hub for 12 major global health coalitions, networks, and partnerships working to address a variety of large-scale health problems.

The Task Force provides administrative, financial, and human resources services needed for programmatic success. The Task Force also plays essential convening roles for the programs and helps them advocate to funders and partners.

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.

Through our alliances, we reach hundreds of millions of people in 150+ countries. Learn more about how powerful partnerships make for powerful results.

As an Emory University affiliate, we, like the Carter Center, utilize the university’s human resource components such that all of our team members are Emory University employees, Task Force job opportunities are posted through the university’s career portal, and the university supports all other HR-related activities. This is the only direct affiliation we have with the university. 

The definition of the term ‘task force’ is a group specifically organized to solve a task. Originally called The Task Force for Child Survival, we were specifically brought together in 1984 to solve one task: improving childhood immunization rates in developing countries. To achieve this, we brought together the world’s leading health and development agencies, and within six years, this group raised immunization rates from 20 to 80 percent. Due to the success of solving this ‘task,’ over time, we have been specifically sought out to solve certain global health tasks. We altered our name to The Task Force for Global Health in order to encompass the breadth of tasks that we address. 

Who is our Co-Founder, William H. Foege, MD, MPH?

William H. Foege, MD, MPH, is the inspiration behind the work we do. An epidemiologist by training, he was one of the architects of the successful smallpox eradication effort in the 1970s, which is still the only disease to be eradicated in humanity. In 2012, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Dr. Foege was Chief of the CDC Smallpox Eradication Program and was appointed director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1977. In 1984, Dr. Foege co-founded The Task Force for Child Survival (now called The Task Force for Global Health), heading up the effort to increase global child immunization rates.

Dr. Foege served The Carter Center from 1986-1992

as its Executive Director. Between 1992-1999, he contributed to the Carter Center’s work as a Fellow but also as the Executive Director of The Task Force for Global Health (which was then called The Task Force for Child Survival and was based at the Carter Center at the time).

Between 1999-2001, Dr. Foege also served as Senior Medical Advisor for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. During his time with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he became a close friend and mentor to the Gateses. Today, he is retired but continues to influence global public health.

Bill Gates pays tribute to his mentor, global health giant and Task Force co-founder, Dr. Foege.

Dr. Foege wrote a book about founding The Task Force. Learn more from his speech at the Decatur Book Festival in 2018.

The "Other" Bill: Co-Founder William C. Watson Jr.

William C. Watson Jr. co-founded The Task Force along with Dr. Foege. As Deputy Director, Watson was the operations man behind the vision for The Task Force, which was created initially to increase global childhood immunization rates. Both former CDC employees and often called “the Two Bills,” Dr. Watson and Dr. Foege held their first Task Force staff meeting, along with former CDC employee Carol Walters, around Dr. Watson’s kitchen table.

Dr. Watson was a Prisoner of War in World War II which led him to public health. He was one of the CDC’s first Public Health Advisor and the CDC has since then honored his career by naming their highest honor, the William C. Watson Jr. Medal of Excellence. Learn more about Dr. Watson’s contributions to improving the health of people worldwide here.

Header photo caption: A group of Task Force staff show their joy outside of our headquarters in Decatur, GA.

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