Dr. Bruce Aylward is a Canadian physician and epidemiologist working as director of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at the World Health Organization (WHO).
Born in St. John's, Newfoundland, Dr. Aylward received his medical training in his home province at Memorial University, before undertaking internal medicine training in Vancouver, British Columbia. Dr. Aylward also received training at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where he received a diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene, and a master's degree in public health, respectively.
During the course of his medical training, Dr. Aylward travelled extensively and worked in a number of developing countries throughout South America, Africa and Asia. Upon joining WHO in 1992, Dr. Aylward initially worked as a medical officer with the Expanded Programme on Immunization, primarily in the areas of measles, neonatal tetanus and hepatitis vaccination, and injection safety. In the five-year period from 1993-1997, Dr. Aylward worked in national immunization programs at the field level in developing countries, primarily in the area of polio eradication. His assignments included many countries ranging from Egypt and Iraq in the Middle East, to countries such as Cambodia, Afghanistan and Myanmar in Asia.
In 1997, Dr. Aylward returned to work with the WHO's Global Polio Eradication Initiative as the focal point for ‘difficult countries.' He was appointed overall coordinator of the initiative in 1998 and has served as director since 2006.