On Saturday 3rd December 2022, Professor Charles Fordham von Reyn received the Doctor of Science, honoris causa from the Muhimbili University of Health and Applied Sciences (MUHAS), in recognition of his contribution to the health systems in Tanzania.
Charles Fordham von Reyn is a retired Professor of Medicine and served as the first chief of
infectious Disease at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He has served in many positions in clinical teaching, research, and global health within USA and abroad. He first took up the challenge of Tuberculosis in 1987 and began developing a vaccine strategy in the 1990s.In 2013, Prof von Reyn won a lifetime achievement award for developing Dar-901 vaccine, which was the very first TB vaccine in 85 years shown to be effective against TB disease.
In 2000, Prof. von Reyn began collaboration with MUHAS, and before that its predecessor Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences (MUCHS), establishing a strong partnership between MUHAS and Dartmouth that still exists today. Through three successive National Institutes of Health (NIH) – Fogarty training grants, Prof. von Reyn has enabled the training of 21 Tanzanians (10 women) with 15 receiving Master of Public Health; two receiving Master of Science in Epidemiology; and four completing their PhDs. In addition, hundreds of other staff have received short courses on TB and HIV.
In 2001, Prof. Fordham von Reyn and Prof. Kisali Pallangyo at MUHAS founded the DarDar Program, a collaborative research program between Dartmouth and MUHAS in Dar-es-Salaam. In this period, he attracted over $ 10 million in research funding, and has mentored faculty at MUHAS who have become successful in obtaining independent research funding from the NIH. He also mobilized funds that facilitated construction of the Infectious Diseases Clinic (IDC), a major resource for research to MUHAS and for the clinical care of children and adolescents living with HIV in Dar-es-salaam.
During the graduation ceremony and in the reception that followed, MUHAS faculty, Dar-Dar staff, Fogarty Fellows were joined by the US Ambassador to Tanzania, HE Donald Wright, a physician himself, who expressed his thanks to Prof. von Reyn’s work and congratulated MUHAS and Dartmouth staff for the strong collaboration between the institutions, which is a prerequisite for global health.
On behalf of MUHAS faculty, Prof. Kisali Pallangyo highlighted Prof. von Reyn’s contribution to strengthening capacity and provision of health through the Fogarty training grants, all of whom are working directly to support health care in Tanzania. Former trainees added a personal note of thanks for Prof. von Reyn, who not only facilitated their trainings, but also remains a mentor and a friend.