Introduction of the Soper Lecture

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  • National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia

Fred Soper dedicated his life to the eradication of disease. Soper's legendary efforts in the battle against yellow fever and his leadership of the successful campaigns to eradicate Anopheles gambiae from Brazil and later from Egypt are emblazoned on the records of public health achievements of the 20th century. In Ventures in World Health, the Memoirs of Fred L. Soper, the medical historian John Duffy noted, “Fred Soper can best be described as a secular medical missionary. Appalled by sickness and disease, he was determined to do all in his power to eliminate its cause. In many respects he epitomizes the best of those American qualities of practicality, forthrightness, moral certainty, and an impelling urge to reform.”

As a tribute to this remarkable public health leader, the Gorgas Memorial Institute established the Soper Lectureship shortly after Fred Soper's death in 1977 and has recently made provision for its endowment.