The Medical Mission
Dr. Jean William Pape

Dr. Jean William Pape is Director of GHESKIO Centers (Haitian Study Group on Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections) in Haiti, and Professor of Medicine at Cornell University in New York. Dr. Pape received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Columbia University (New York), and his MD diploma from Cornell (New York). He specialized in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases in the Cornell hospital system in New York. He returned to Haiti, his native country, in 1979 to work on infantile diarrhea, the main cause of mortality in children.

In the first two years he reduced mortality from 44% to 1%. This led in 1982 to the creation of the National Program to prevent dehydration from diarrhea with the Cornell-GHESKIO unit as the national training center. This program is mostly credited for the marked reduction in national infantile mortality from 144/1,000 in 1980 to 74/1,000 in 1994. In 1982, Dr. Pape faced a most formidable challenge: AIDS. He founded the Haitian Study Group on Kaposi Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (GHESKIO), credited for identifying the first AIDS cases in the developing world and continues as its Director. Two decades later, GHESKIO provides free care to over 150,000 patients with HIV infection, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis annually. Dr Pape assumed an international leadership role and has been unrelenting in his efforts to implement programs for the prevention and control of AIDS and tuberculosis in Haiti and other resource-poor countries.

Dr. Pape was a founder of the Haitian National AIDS Commission (1986). Despite ongoing political turmoil and deteriorating economic conditions, GHESKIO continues to provide uninterrupted care, training, and to conduct translational research. New therapies and management strategies for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and diarrhea have been validated and implemented. A world-class vaccine and clinical trials unit has been established with NIAID support. Dr Pape is a member of the steering committee of the Adult Clinical Trial Group (ACTG) and the HIV Vaccine Trial Network (HVTN). Major funding from the UN Global Fund and the President Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has expanded the GHESKIO comprehensive care paradigm to 25 sites throughout the country. Dr. Pape and his team have been credited with “slowing the epidemic” (of AIDS in Haiti) and serving as “a model for how poor countries with few resources can combat AIDS, tuberculosis and diarrhea” (NY Times 12/22/02). With the interventions of GHESKIO and other main partners the national HIV seroprevalence decreased from 6.2% in 1993 to 3.1% in 2003 showing that it is possible to develop successful national programs in the poorest countries and under conditions of instability and political unrest.

Dr. Pape is internationally known for his work in infectious diseases. He has been awarded many national and international awards including the highest scientific recognition by Haiti (Leon Audain award), France (Legion of Honor from President Jacques Chirac), the United States (The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science), and in October 2000 Dr. Pape was recipient of the prestigious United Nations Award, presented by Kofi Annan for “contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS,” during the United Nations development program for Celebration International Day Against Poverty. Dr. Pape is the author or lead author of over 65 original publications in professional medical journals. He has in addition, written numerous medical books and contributed various chapters as primary author or contributing author in association with other clinical researchers on selected aspects of infectious diseases. Dr. Pape is a professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of International Medicine and Infectious Diseases of Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Dr. Pape is married to Dominique Pasquis.

The Pape family has fours sons; Douglas, Clifford, Alain, and Vincent. The family home in the United States is located in Glen Cove, New York.