As the world continues the battle against the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians are paying closer attention than ever to the development and implementation of public health policy and research. As McGill’s 67th Beatty lecturer, Dr. Anthony Fauci will share his insights and remarkable life experience as an infectious disease expert and public health official on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. In this the university’s bicentennial year, the public lecture will be presented exclusively online on Friday, October 1, 2021, as part of McGill’s virtual Homecoming festivities.
The chief medical advisor to President Biden – and six presidents before him – Dr. Fauci has served as Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, overseeing an extensive portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose, and treat established infectious diseases, including SARS-CoV-2. Notably, he was one of the principal architects of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world since its launch in 2003. He remains a leader in the global HIV research response. He has also led research efforts to combat tuberculosis, malaria, as well as emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika. Dr. Fauci is considered a pioneer in the field of human immunoregulation and is the longtime chief of the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Laboratory of Immunoregulation.
“As a physician, researcher, and public servant with five decades of experience combatting infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci has faced the COVID-19 pandemic with unfaltering determination, scientific evidence and humanity,” says Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation, and the host of the Beatty Lectures. “I look forward with excitement to welcoming him, virtually, to our campus community.”
To the Beatty’s virtual podium, Dr. Fauci will bring his exceptional ability to communicate the science behind the COVID-19 pandemic. His early, and urgent, plea to “wear a mask” was deemed the most significant quotation of 2020 by the Yale Law School library. TIME Magazine named him to its list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020 for being “among the first to step forward with facts and only facts.” He has likewise shown great concern for human welfare in these trying times. In a recent convocation speech to his alma matter, the College of the Holy Cross, he counseled graduates that, “now is the time, if ever there was one, for us to care selflessly about one another.”
A scientist with a passion for public health
Born in New York in 1940, as a young man Dr. Fauci delivered prescriptions for the neighbourhood pharmacy that his Italian immigrant parents owned and operated. He earned a medical degree from Cornell University in 1966, and then began his 53-year career at the NIH in 1968, assuming his NIAID director position in 1984. Today he is one of the world’s most-cited biomedical scientists.
Dr. Fauci is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Science, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, the National Academy of Sciences’ Public Welfare Medal, the George M. Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians, and the Canada Gairdner Global Health Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, as well as many other professional societies.
Nahlah Ayed, host of the CBC Radio One program IDEAS, will emcee the event. A former parliamentary reporter and a veteran foreign correspondent, her work has garnered numerous awards including from the UK Foreign Press Association and the Canadian Association of Journalists. In 2012, her memoir, A Thousand Farewells, was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award. IDEAS broadcasts weeknights at 8 pm (8:30 NT) on CBC Radio One and the CBC Listen App.
About the Beatty Lecture
The Beatty Lecture is one of the longest running lecture series in North America, and uniquely international in scope, inviting lecturers from around the world to speak at McGill. It was established in 1952 in honour of Sir Edward Beatty, McGill’s Chancellor from 1920 to 1943. Recent past Beatty Lecturers have included nature conservation advocate Jane Goodall, cultural critic Roxane Gay, and philosopher Charles Taylor. In 2020, the Beatty Lecture with cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker was held virtually due to the ongoing pandemic.
The lecture is open to the public, and in 2021, will be free to view. The Beatty Lecture is co-produced by McGill’s offices of Research and Innovation and University Advancement.