SI in the News
Dr. Goosby came to SI Nov. 1 to receive the Spiritus Magis Award, which recognizes excellence in one's professional life. The event also launched a new SI Medical Society. The text of the citation, read by former SI math teacher Chuck Murphy '61, is below. Also, see more events from the event here.
When you consider the enormous contribution Dr. Eric Goosby '70 has made, you first need to recall what San Francisco was like in the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic seemed out of control; and the city, the nation and the world were gripped with fear. Young and old were dying by the tens of thousands. While the fight is far from over, the panic subsided thanks to medical professionals such as Dr. Goosby, who has devoted much of his nearly 40-year career to fighting HIV in the U.S. and around the world.
When Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama needed a leader in the fight against AIDS, they turned to Dr. Goosby. However, for all his work on the public policy front, Dr. Eric Goosby is first and foremost a doctor. In a 1998 Genesis magazine interview, he noted that he would "rather do the medical work. I'm not a political animal. What I do best is figure out what lines of research we should pursue, what treatment we should support, how to identify the populations we need to target and how to treat them."
Born in 1952, Dr. Goosby attributes his interest in medicine to breaking his leg as a teenager and to the quality care he received from medical professionals. "That made me want to become a doctor," he noted. He attended both the Stanyan Street and Sunset District campuses of SI, and was among the first to graduate from the new school. One colleague, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of Allergies and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health noted that Dr. Goosby's passion for public service "came from his parents and his inherently empathetic nature [which] was fortified by his Jesuit education at SI, whose mantra is service to others."
Dr. Goosby earned his medical degree in 1978 from UCSF, where he also did his residency and fellowship with a subspecialty in infectious diseases. He finished his fellowship at the very moment the AIDS crisis was reaching a fever pitch. He had more than a front-row seat as the medical community attempted to identify and fight the virus — he became one of the key leaders in that effort, first as an assistant professor at UCSF, and in the AIDS Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital, as Director of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Intravenous Drug Using Clinic.
There he discovered new methods for treating HIV-infected intravenous drug users before becoming, in 1991, the founding director of HIV Services at the U.S. Public Health Service/ Health Resources and Service Administration. He administered the Ryan White CARE Act and sent federal funds and support planning to 25 AIDS epicenters throughout the country, including U.S. territories.
Three years later, he became director of the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) where he advocated for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and research. In 1995, he launched the HHS Panel on Clinical Practices for the Treatment of HIV Infections and created a standard of care for antiretroviral treatment for children and pregnant women. His pioneering work became a source for clinicians to obtain guidance on the appropriate use of antiretroviral therapy for treatment of patients with HIV and for those with both HIV and TB.
While still with HHS, he served as interim director of the National AIDS Policy Office (ONAP) at the White House, starting in 1997, reporting directly to President Clinton as his senior advisor on HIV-related issues. (His close relationship with President Clinton is also evident by his work on the board of directors of the Clinton Foundation since 2013.)
Dr. Goosby was also keenly aware of the racial disparities he saw, and responded by nurturing a dialogue that led to the Minority AIDS Initiative in 1998. He guided its implementation for three years while also working to examine and promote needle exchange programs as a way of slowing the spread of AIDS. Later, he served as a clinical provider for the 360 Men of Color Program.
In 2000, he became deputy director of the National AIDS Policy Office in the White House, while also serving as the director of the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS Policy. In all he did during the Clinton Administration, he served as a clinician, researcher and policy maker.
He took an eight-year hiatus from government service to work on a global level as CEO and chief medical officer of Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, developing and implementing HIV/AIDS treatment in Africa, China and the Ukraine. As Dr. Fauci stated, in his time in Washington, Eric "dramatically improved HIV policy in the United States .... It was at Pangaea that Eric fortified his expertise in international health issues, which I think of now in retrospect as his 'spring training' for [what would come next]."
During his time with Pangaea, Dr. Goosby developed guidelines for the use of antiretroviral therapies as well as for mentoring and training of health care workers who were the local boots-on-the-ground in developing nations. The Clinton Foundation's HIV/AIDS Initiative also proved a key player in this work. "The most effective program is one that combines education and treatment and specifically targets what populations need these the most," said Dr. Goosby in a 2006 Genesis magazine story.
Shortly after the 2008 election, Dr. Goosby returned to public office to serve as the Ambassador-at-Large and United States Global AIDS Coordinator, helping to fight HIV/AIDS around the world through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR. (Incidentally, PEPFAR — the largest public health program in history, came about in part due to the efforts of another SI grad — Dr. Joseph O'Neill '71, who, as Director of ONAP, helped to secure $15 billion to combat AIDS in African and Caribbean countries.) Dr. Goosby also served as a board member to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. During his tenure, PEPFAR saw record levels of people being treated. Dr. Goosby also expanded PEPFAR's scope to more aggressively address TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment as part of HIV treatment and care, as well as to support coordination of HIV and TB programs, the development and use of molecular TB diagnostics and overall integration of HIV and TB into primary health care.
His years with PEPFAR were, according to Dr. Fauci, "nothing short of spectacular. Under his leadership, millions of lives were saved, and the notion of an 'AIDS-free generation' [became] no longer a fantasy, but an attainable goal. His masterful guidance of PEPFAR through the transition from an emergency measure to a sustainable program based on the concept of country ownership was accomplished during a period of severe fiscal constraint and will go down as a textbook example of how to manage the evolution of a massive global health program. In addition, his emphasis on the concept of 'implementation science' in the PEPFAR dialogue has enhanced greatly the efficiency of the program. Eric's accomplishments with PEPFAR will no doubt be discussed and taught in schools of public health throughout the world."
In December 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Dr. Goosby to serve as the founding Director of the Office of Global Health Diplomacy at the U.S. Department of State to improve and save lives in partner countries. He directed both this office and PEPFAR until October 2013, when he returned to UCSF to start an institute for Global Health Delivery and Diplomacy to apply scientific methods to the design and implementation of local health systems. Two years later, UN Secretary General Ban-ki moon presented Dr. Goosby with a new challenge: fight tuberculosis worldwide. Now, as UN Special Envoy on Tuberculosis, where he travels the world to raise awareness about this leading infectious disease killer and work with countries to reduce their high TB burden.
Dr. Goosby's efforts are part of the World Health Organization's global End TB Strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals to reduce TB deaths by 95 percent and to cut new cases by 90 percent between 2015 and 2035. This is made more difficult with an epidemic of drug-resistant forms of TB that threaten global health security and the fact that a third of those with TB also have HIV. As such, TB is a leading cause of death for HIV-positive people.
On World TB Day in 2016, Dr. Goosby issued a call to action to "turn the tide on this terrible disease." He noted that we cannot accept the fact that 4,100 people die every day and 1.5 million each year from TB, a curable disease." Making the situation even more desperate is that TB "predominately strikes people who live in poverty and do not have the ability to make their voices heard. As global citizens, it is up to us to give voice to the voiceless. They can't mobilize to turn the tide, but we can.... We must all turn up the volume and demand that TB gets the resources it needs. Then, we will see the tide turn."
Dr. Hiroki Nakatani, assistant director-general at WHO, noted that "Eric will be fundamental to our efforts to promote the new WHO global strategy with member states, donors and all stakeholders. His profound knowledge of global health challenges, the AIDS epidemic and the fight against TB will be a tremendous asset for our work and will make the difference."
Dr. Fauci offers one more bit of praise for a man who, quite literally, has brought healing to millions: "Despite his exalted positions and amazing accomplishments, he has remained one of the most modest, humble and self-effacing individuals I have ever met. He is a model of integrity and honesty, kind, generous and with a burning compassion for the suffering of others — someone whom you would want your children to emulate."
Thus, on this day, November 1, 2017, St. Ignatius College Preparatory is proud to present to Dr. Eric Goosby the Spiritus Magis Award for his remarkable service in the field of medicine. We are blessed to know him and to call him one of our own. We hope that our students also emulate his example and seek to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable among us.