George B. Craig, Jr. Memorial Lecture


George B. Craig, Jr. Memorial Banquet and Lecture 

Michael Macdonald, ScD
Public Health Entomology and Vector Control in the Greater Mekong Subregion

6:30-8:30 pm (Dinner at 6:30 pm with lecture to follow at 7:30 pm. To sign up for both, register here. The lecture is free and open to the public.)

Dr. Macdonald, B.S. Notre Dame ’77, has been working with malaria, vector-borne disease and refugee health programs in Asia and Africa for the past 40 years. He credits his life’s trajectory to a confluence of George Craig, Jimmy Carter and The Grotto. Professor Craig, for the serendipity of taking “MedEnt” those frigid South Bend winter mornings; and Jimmy, who in his first foreign policy speech as President at the ’77 ND commencement, told graduates that US foreign policy will no longer be based on fear but on human rights and global development. Six weeks later, after lighting more than a few candles at The Grotto, he arrived in Borneo as a Peace Corps Volunteer with the Sabah (East Malaysia) Malaria Control Programme, collecting mosquitoes and supervising DDT spray teams. The course was set.

Dr. Macdonald went on to earn his Sc.D. from Johns Hopkins University with research on the ecology of malaria transmission in Pakistan. His public health vector control work then led him to live in Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Zambia, with stints in the US and Geneva supporting programs throughout Africa and Asia. He has worked for Johns Hopkins and Boston Universities, USAID, various UN Organizations, including WHO, and “Roll Back Malaria” (RBM), and NGOs. His latest longer-term posting was back with WHO throughout 2016 to provide support to entomology and vector control for malaria elimination in the six countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion.


The emergence of artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) has brought increased investment and response for control efforts. Initially, this was the launch in 2011 of a ‘containment’ strategy for what was feared to be the spread of resistant parasites to other regions; and then in 2015, the endorsement of an elimination strategy for the six countries of the subregion to be malaria-free by 2030. Entomology and Vector Control in the GMS must adapt to the changing context. This includes, first, shifting entomology strategies from control to elimination through risk area stratification and “Hazard Mapping”, expanding and decentralizing sampling and increased use of GIS and Remote Sensing, and improved capacities for foci investigation and elimination. Second, adapting vector control to fit the context, especially in developing new tools and strategies for personal protection for outdoor and residual transmission. These efforts to develop new tools in the Mekong are linked to a broader initiative though RBM for Vector Control in Humanitarian Emergencies, where many of the same treated materials or repellents could be used in for displaced persons and refugees where traditional mosquito nets and Indoor Residual Spraying are not practical. Third, and most fundamental, is capacity with ongoing investment for infrastructure: insectaries, reference labs and GIS platforms; and for human resources: posts, career opportunities and training, networks and university linkages.

Macdonald, a 1977 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, studied under Dr. George B. Craig, Jr., Notre Dame's only member of the National Academy of Sciences.