Merson on Joep Lange: The World Has 'Lost a Strong Advocate for Global Health'

July 18, 2014

The deaths of several leading AIDS and global health researchers in the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines airplane Thursday will have ramifications far beyond the tragedy in the Ukraine, said the director of Duke's Global Health Institute (DGHI).

Several of the passengers on the airplane were heading to the International AIDS Conference in Australia. The deaths included former president of International AIDS Society Joep Lange who was a long-time colleague and friend of DGHI's Dr. Michael Merson.

“The world has lost a great leader and a strong advocate for global health," Merson said. "We grieve Joep Lange’s death and those of the other AIDS activists and scientists who have tragically died traveling to the 2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne.”

Merson is an HIV/AIDS expert and former director of the World Health Organization’s Global Program on AIDS where he worked with Joep Lange leading efforts in AIDS treatment. In 2006, Lange was a part of the launch of the Duke Global Health Institute at Duke University and a frequent collaborator.

“Lange was a kind man and a long-time champion for fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Asia and Africa," Merson said. "He has made many contributions to advancing AIDS research over the past several decades. We honor him and his many contributions to science. He leaves behind a legacy of leadership, vision and always striving for a healthier tomorrow.”

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group picture
Joep Lange (far left second row, in blue jeans) and others from the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development joined Michael Merson and others from the Duke Global Health Institute for this photo at Duke in June 2014.

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