Steven Specter, PhD, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Julie Jacobson, MD ‘94 recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Physician Alumnus Award, and Aman Bhullar, MD ’07, Chair of the Awards & Nominations Committee. 

The University of South Florida College of Medicine Alumni Society proudly presented the 2014 Distinguished Physician Alumnus Award to Julie A. Jacobson, MD, ’94 at the 2014 Commencement Dinner on April 10. When accepting the award, she stated that she felt honored and happy to be brought back to her roots and noted all of the wonderful people at USF that had an impact on her career. She was thrilled to see Project World Health blossom into something amazing and was excited at what the next generation is working on to make the world a better place. 

Dr. Jacobson, who received both her MD and undergraduate degree at USF, is currently the Senior Program Officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. At the Foundation, she works toward the control of the 10 leading neglected tropical diseases in some of the world’s poorest populations as well as the development and implementation of new vaccines in the infectious disease group of Global Health.

Even as a medical student, Julie demonstrated her passion for global health service as one of the founders of Project World Health. The faculty mentors and students of this USF Health organization sponsor the care of over 2,000 patients in their mission trips to the Dominican Republic each year. 

Earlier in her career, Dr. Jacobson was Scientific Director of Immunization Solutions and Director of Japanese encephalitis (JE) project at Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), an international non-profit organization. Her work accelerated the control of JE in endemic countries by accelerating the development of an improved vaccine and diagnostic tests for JE, and helping countries integrate the vaccine into immunization programs. She defined the direction and growth of immunization solutions by increasing the availability of vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable populations. Dr. Jacobson was also responsible for prioritizing and designing field activities for PATH’s Children’s Vaccine Project in the areas including yellow fever and rotavirus.

Prior to joining PATH, Dr. Jacobson was Epidemic Intelligence Officer at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this capacity, she worked in disaster epidemiology and conducted needs assessments for disaster victims, evaluated national surveillance systems, and evaluated the health impact of earthquakes on displaced persons.

The Awards and Recognition Committee, led by Aman Bhullar, MD ’07 is comprised of previous 
Distinguished Physician Alumnus Award recipients. Special thanks to Eduardo Gonzalez, MD ’91; Michael Flannery, MD ’88; Paul Wallach, MD ’84; and John Hughes, MD ’75 for their participation. 

For a list of previous recipients - click here

Submit a nomination for this award - click here.