Dr. Witold Migala, associate professor and director of the MPH-Epidemiology program at University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) School of Public Health, has assumed a new role as Texas Public Health Association (TPHA) president.
During his lifetime, Dr. Migala has lived, worked in or experienced more than 75 countries, traveling the world from Haiti and Madagascar to Nigeria and beyond for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies, helping develop immunization initiatives and other international health service programs.
“I’ve always felt at home delivering healthcare services to isolated communities where people don’t have the basic resources that most of us take for granted here in the U.S.,” he said. “At its root, public health is as much global as it is local.”
Dr. Migala once traveled by four-wheel drive and motorcycle, via canoe and on foot to 58 remote medical clinics in Madagascar over 90 days, sleeping wherever he could on floors, hospital beds and chairs to track down possible polio cases and help confer the country’s first year “eradication status” on behalf of the United Nations.
In Nigeria on a similar mission, he worked closely with tribal elders and traditional healers of one reluctant village to immunize against polio. Over time, he was able to gain their trust and support enough that the chief leader volunteered his young son to be the first for vaccination.
In addition to various other global health initiatives, Dr. Migala’s 10-year service as chief epidemiologist for the City of Fort Worth, Texas, helped cultivate his broad base of experience.
He will soon be exploring new global health opportunities again, continuing to represent UNTHSC as adjunct faculty throughout his TPHA presidency.Tags: Friday Letter Submission