Sue Gerber, an alumna of New Mexico State University working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help eradicate polio in the Middle East and Africa, visited campus this spring for the first time since the 1980s.

During her visit, Gerber, the senior program officer for the Gates Foundation’s polio team, spoke to students and faculty in the College of Health and Social Services about her work with the Peace Corps, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Gates Foundation.

Gerber graduated from NMSU in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in community health. She later went on to earn her master’s in public health from Walden University, and will finish her doctorate in public health/epidemiology from Walden this year.

“The interaction students are having with the faculty and staff here is very impressive,” Gerber says about her impressions during her visit. “There’s really great student participation here.”

Gerber’s visit was hosted by the NMSU Foundation in collaboration with the College of Health and Social Services, which invited Gerber to visit her alma mater.

As the Gates Foundation polio team’s senior program officer, Gerber manages a portfolio of grants, contracts and consultations that support surveillance, program operations, operational research and innovations, and is a member of the global surveillance task team for polio. Before joining the Gates Foundation, Gerber worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and served as deputy director of the CDC Global AIDS program in Namibia. Gerber was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, supporting that West African country’s immunization program.

During her visit, Gerber took a tour of colonias, or underserved communities, in Doña Ana County, visited a public health science class and hosted two roundtable discussions, one with students and the other with community health leaders chosen by CHSS Dean Donna Wagner. 

Adriana M. Chavez