Notre Dame Alumni Return to Cultivate the Next Generation of Global Health Leaders

This fall, two alumni, whose careers were dedicated to the Public Health Service, Brian McCarthy ‘68, MD, and Philip Coyne ’76, MD, returned to Notre Dame to share their lifes’ work with the Eck Institute for Global Health’s Master of Science in Global Health students. After years “in the field” the University is blessed to have practicing professionals return to share their unique, practical experiences and leadership roles in global health.


Both McCarthy and Coyne received their undergraduate degrees from Notre Dame and went on to receive medical degrees from Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY, and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD, respectively. Both went on to serve our country in the medical profession as United States Public Health Service Officers; McCarthy at the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Coyne at the National Institutes for Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. The program is pleased to have both of them back under the Dome where global health students can learn from their long, vast, and varied experiences.

McCarthy and Coyne co-instruct the MS in Global Health foundational course, Global Health Challenges.  The course covers the primary global health themes of infectious and chronic diseases, maternal and child health, environmental impact on health, water and sanitation, and nutrition.  The course is designed to help students understand the multidimensional aspects of global health and equip them with the skills and tools necessary to identify innovative solutions.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for our students to learn from two seasoned global health professionals,” notes Katherine Taylor, Director of Operations and Interim Director of Global Health Training at the Eck Institute for Global Health.  “In addition to their extensive experience, each of them has brought their broad network of global health colleagues to contribute to teaching on special topics.” Taylor added, “Although it was logistically daunting to develop a new course with two adjunct faculty and numerous guest lecturers, we were fortunate to have Ashley Scott ’13, MS, Assistant Program Director for the Eck Institute for Global Health and a recent graduate of the master’s program, supporting the effort. She has been key to designing and coordinating the class.”

This year’s class of 28 students is a dramatic increase from 14, 19 and 17, over the first three years of the one-year professional masters program in the College of Science.  “While it is exciting to grow and meet the demand of this unique degree at Notre Dame,” says Taylor, “we are dedicated to making sure each and every one of our students has the best experiential learning opportunity both on and off campus that Notre Dame can provide.”

Biosketches of McCarthy and Coyne are as follows:

Brian J. McCarthy, ’68, MD, MSc, began his career with the United States Public Health Service, assigned to the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Division in the State of Georgia. He worked on projects on teenage pregnancy, child abuse, maternal, and newborn risk assessment.

While at CDC, he was introduced to MCH issues in developing countries. His 22-year career included the World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Reproductive Health (WHO/CC/RH) in the Division of Reproductive Health at CDC, developing methods to improve maternal and perinatal health information systems, performing in-country MCH needs assessments and program evaluations for United Nations agencies, carrying out health service research, and conducting MCH epidemiologic and management workshops to develop the local level capacity in these topics.

Next, McCarthy was the CDC senior technical advisor of the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Afghan Health Initiative.  He led a team of 37 professionals, contractors, and Afghan nationals in a comprehensive material and newborn service project in Kabul, Afghanistan associated with the Rabia Balkhia Hospital for Women, the only hospital allowed by the Taliban to treat women during the tenure.

McCarthy retired from the CDC in 2011. He holds adjunct professor positions at both Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health and the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health in the Global Collaborating Center in Reproductive Health. He continues to provide consultations to the Swiss Development Corporation , US Agency for International Development and United Nations agencies with the most recent being for UNICEF in Azerbaijan, the Republic of Georgia, and Moldova and with planned consultancies in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan.  He also continues to work with Afghan colleagues in Kabul as a senior advisor to the Afghan Safe Birth Consortium.

Philip E. Coyne, Jr. ’76, MD, MSPH, recently retired as a Captain in the US Public Health Service.  He continues his government service as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Tropical Public Health at the F. Edward Herbert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Dr. Coyne is an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame and the Peace Corps Where he served for two years in the Central Africa Republic.

Coyne has lectured numerous times on campus over the past 10 years in a variety of capacities, mostly on the topics of infectious and neglected diseases. He has worked internationally with organizations such as the WHO's Onchocerciasis Control Program while at the World Bank, and as a board member of Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative trying to break down the economic roadblocks to the development of new drugs for neglected tropical diseases.

Dr. Coyne has also served as: a Program Officer for Antiparasitic Drug Development at NIH; the Associate Director for Regulatory Affairs, Division of Experimental Therapeutics at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; and Medical Review Officer for Antiparasitic Drugs, Division of Special Pathogens & Immunologic Drugs, Food and Drug Administration. He is an active member of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, has held several leadership roles with the Society, and has recently been recognized as a Fellow.

About the Eck Institute for Global Health’s Master of Science in Global Health Program:
The Master of Science in Global Health is a 12-month, science-centric, academic program through the Eck Institute for Global Health. The professional degree arms students with the knowledge, tools, and experience to be part of the solution to the global health crisis. The rigorous curriculum includes classroom training and experiential learning to prepare students for improving human health around the world, especially for poor and underserved people.

After two semesters of coursework on campus, students complete a six- to eight-week field experience abroad in a resource-poor location. Upon returning from the international immersion, each student submits and presents a capstone project. This scholarly report includes original or literature-based research by which they connect classroom science-centric training, survey research, and mathematical modeling to the field via hands-on experience.

Recent alumni are now in medical school, pursuing prestigious graduate programs, or working in fields such as program design and implementation, community based needs assessment, and public health.

About the Eck Institute for Global Health:
The Eck Institute for Global Health recognizes health as a fundamental human right and endeavors to promote research, training, and service to advance health standards for all people, especially people in low-and middle-income countries, who are disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases.