On Saturday, September 19, 2015, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) lost one of its own.
For a total of 18 years, Dr. Alan Magill brought our Institute his immense talent for thoughtful inquiry, his creative intellect,
his capacity for fun and especially his compassion for and love of people, sick and well. COL Alan Jon Magill is missed and mourned by many.
Alan served for 26 years in the U.S. Army Medical Corp as an infectious disease doctor and medical researcher.
He retired as a Colonel after taking part in and leading many research endeavors to develop drugs and diagnostics to fight malaria and other
tropical diseases. During Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait, he helped the Army recognize leishmaniasis affecting US Service Members,
a finding that led to further important research and many changes in policy to protect the force.
COL Magill researched and reported on the enormous impact of malaria on deployed service members in Somalia during
Operation Restore Hope, 1992 to 1994. Dr. Magill has also served as Head of Parasitology at the US Naval Medical Research Center’s unit in Lima,
Peru and worked in Germany, where he served as a clinician.
Not at all surprising to us at WRAIR, everyone seemed to need Alan Magill’s scientific and clinical perspectives. The Military Infectious
Diseases Research Program (MIDRP) at the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) assigned him many leadership roles in their work to prevent the mission-stopping impact of infectious diseases on the health of the force. For the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID at NIH) and the FDA both sought his insights and expertise in tropical medicine. He also served as president of both the International Society of Travel Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).
At WRAIR, Dr. Magill served as medical researcher and leader in various capacities in the then Division of Communicable Diseases and Immunology, as WRAIR science director and director of the Division of Experimental Therapeutics. In 2012, Dr. Magill took his innovative approaches to the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA), and was responsible for accelerating program development for their pandemic influenza initiative.
He passed away near his home in Woodway, Washington, where he had moved with his family to serve the purpose of global health as Director of Malaria Programs at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr. Magill’s love of family and his willingness to always listen, in enjoyment or sympathy, will be missed by all who knew him. He was inspired and inspired us to create a better world and especially one free of malaria.
Echoed here at WRAIR and noted by those at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:
“Alan's tenderness, goofiness, and unconditional love grounded us. His uncanny ability to see into our hearts made him an incredibly compassionate man who would always listen and always hold us. His strength and drive made him unbeatable at board games, miniature golf, and poker, while his love for adventure and the great outdoors took him to some of the most wild and beautiful places in the world.”
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