Director-General

Bruce Aylward

Assistant Director-General - Polio and Emergencies

Portrait of Bruce Aylward, ADG

Dr Bruce Aylward is the Assistant Director-General of a cluster which brings together WHO's work in polio eradication and humanitarian response.

A Canadian physician and epidemiologist, Dr Aylward is the author of some 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters. Dr Aylward joined the World Health Organization in 1992 as a Medical Officer with the Expanded Programme on Immunization. He worked for seven years with national immunization programmes at the field level in the Middle East, western Pacific, Europe, North Africa and central and southeast Asia, before coming to WHO Headquarters in Geneva.

Since 1998, Dr Aylward has been responsible for the oversight and coordination of all polio eradication activities across WHO's Regional Offices and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative partnership. He oversaw and managed the scale-up of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which since 1997 has expanded to operate in every polio-affected country of the world and reduced the number of polio-endemic countries to three. Since 2011, Dr Aylward has led WHO’s work in preparedness, readiness and response to humanitarian emergencies as the lead agency of the Global Health Cluster.

Dr Aylward received his medical training in Canada at the Memorial University of Newfoundland before undertaking specialist training in internal medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he focused on infectious diseases, particularly HIV/AIDs. He then trained at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where he received a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and a Masters in Public Health (summa cum laude) respectively. During the course of his medical training, Dr Aylward travelled and worked in countries throughout South America, Africa and Asia.

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