Obituaries

Jonathan MannEdward James Barrington-WardNellie Eirwen DaviesJames Watson FarquharAlexander Bruce Junor GilbertKandiah MahadevaStephen Lane Henderson SmithDorothy Mary Yoxall

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7160.754 (Published 12 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:754

Jonathan Mann


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Leader in public health and human rights (b 1947; q Washington University, St Louis), died 2 September 1998. In the crash of Swissair Flight 111 the world lost a major force in the battle against AIDS and social injustice.

Jonathan Mann was born in Boston and earned his undergraduate degree in history from Harvard University in 1969, having spent much of his third year in Paris at the Ecole de Science Politique, where he met his first wife, Marie-Paule Bondat. His interest turned to medicine, and he entered Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. He took part in a government programme to practise in underserved areas of the country, so after an internship at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital, he moved to New Mexico. There, as an epidemiology officer with the Centers for Disease Control, his involvement with rural poverty, social deprivation, and their effects on health kindled his commitment to public health. He also fell in love with the region's climate and people, and aside from a year at the Harvard School of Public Health, he and his family lived in New Mexico for 10 years, where he served as state epidemiologist and assistant director of the state department of public health.

Dynamic response to AIDS problem

By 1984 he sensed that he had completed a cycle of work and needed an assignment elsewhere where he could be of use. From the Centers of Disease control he received several offers, one of which was to go to Kinshasa, Zaire, to help investigate the new phenomenon of AIDS. Little was known about AIDS; no administrative or physical structures existed to support investigation into this disease; and poverty, politics, and cultural differences impeded the swift set of steps he wished to take. Yet within months he had hired and trained a core staff of Zairian …

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