Lee Willingham, BSc, DVM, PhD Professor and Chair Department of Veterinary Medicine College of Food and Agriculture United Arab Emirates University
Professor Dr. Arve Lee Willingham currently serves as Chair of United Arab Emirates University, College of Food and Agriculture’s Department of Veterinary Medicine. He is a 1986 graduate of the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, USA. Following four years of private veterinary practice he served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Veterinarian (1990-1992) in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco where he developed an interest in parasitic zoonoses of both public health and agricultural importance in developing countries. This interest led to Fulbright Graduate Research Fellowship (1993) and PhD (1994-1997) study programs on zoonotic schistosomiasis at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Denmark.
From 1997-2010 Dr Willingham was involved in projects in Africa funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) aimed at strengthening research capacity on parasitic diseases of livestock belonging to small-scale farmers. He coordinated and supported the research efforts of postgraduate students based at universities in eastern and southern Africa, while also serving as Deputy Director of the WHO/FAO Collaborating Center for Neglected and Other Parasitic Zoonoses based at the University of Copenhagen.
From 2004-2006 he was seconded by DANIDA to the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) to work with their new project on human health impacts of livestock keeping. Dr Willingham was lead organizer of international meetings on cysticercosis held in Arusha, Tanzania (2002) and Bellagio, Italy (2004 and 2006) and assisted in the establishment of the Regional Network for Asian Schistosomiasis plus Other Helminth Zoonoses (RNAS+) and the Cysticercosis Working Group in Eastern and Southern Africa (CWGESA) for which he currently serves as an adviser. In November 2007 he organized, on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO), the international meeting Integrated Control of Neglected Zoonoses in Africa held in Kenya. From 2007-2010, Dr Willingham served on the Parasitic Diseases Taskforce of WHO’s Foodborne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group (FERG) which oversaw the estimation of the burden of the most important foodborne parasitic diseases.
Professor Dr. Willingham worked at the World Health Organization’s Special Program for Tropical Diseases Research and Training (TDR) based in Geneva, Switzerland from 2010-2013 where he facilitated identification and prioritization of global research needs for helminth and zoonotic diseases as well as for the thematic area of the environment, agriculture and infectious diseases, and assisted in initiating TDR’s new research program on environmental and climate change impacts on vector-borne diseases. From 2013-2021 he lived in the West Indies where he served as Associate Dean for Research and Postgraduate Studies and Professor of One Health at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) on the Caribbean island of St Kitts. He was the inaugural Director of RUSVM’s One Health Center for Zoonoses and Tropical Veterinary Medicine and served 2017-2019 as President of the Central American and Caribbean Association for Parasitology & Tropical Medicine, hosting the Association’s 14th biennial congress on St Kitts in 2019.