Dr Jay K. Varma, MD is a physician and epidemiologist with more than 20 years of experience in medicine and public health. He currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Director of Africa CDC, where he supports strategy and implementation of Africa CDC’s programmes in surveillance, emergency preparedness and response, information systems, laboratory systems, and workforce development. After graduating magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard University, Dr Varma completed medical school, internal medicine residency, and chief residency at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. In 2001, he joined US CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, working on foodborne diseases. From 2003 to 2008, he served in Bangkok, Thailand, directing US CDC’s TB programmes and research in Southeast Asia. From 2008 to 2011, he served in Beijing, China, directing US CDC’s International Emerging Infections Program, which assisted the Chinese government on infectious diseases. From 2011 to 2017, Dr Varma served as the Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He directed the public health laboratory and all infectious disease control programmes for New York City, including HIV, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, vaccine-preventable diseases, and general communicable diseases. His Division was one of the largest in the department employing more than 1100 staff, managing over US$ 350 million, and operating 17 clinical facilities. He led New York City to achieve record lows in HIV and TB incidence and record highs in childhood immunization coverage, built new programmes for hepatitis C, STDs, HIV, Legionnaires’ Disease, advanced molecular diagnosis, and data management, and served as incident commander for nine city-wide emergencies. Dr Varma has authored 126 scientific manuscripts, six essays, and one book. A Captain in the US Public Health Service, he has been recognized as the US Public Health Service Physician Researcher of the Year (2010) and Physician Leader of the Year (2017), and has received the two highest awards in the US Public Health Service (Distinguished Service Medal, 2011; Meritorious Service Medal, 2018). Dr Varma speaks fluent English and basic conversational Mandarin.