Leader in Fight Against Global Infectious Diseases to Give Principal Address at Graduate Commencement

May 8, 2015

James Cummings, M.D., ’88, director at the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Global Emerging Infection Surveillance and Response Systems, will serve as the principal speaker at The University of Scranton’s graduate school commencement. He will also receive an honorary degree from the University at the ceremony, which will be held on Saturday, May 30, at 10:45 a.m. at the Byron Recreation Complex.

A U.S. Army colonel, Dr. Cummings is responsible for oversight, development, functionality and fiscal accountability of the DoD’s global surveillance program for emerging infectious disease. The program has more than 130 projects conducting activities in more than 71 countries worldwide.

 “Dr. Cummings’ distinguished career reveals a lifelong engagement with global health concerns. I am pleased that he bring his insights to our graduates and that the University will honor our alumnus for his example of service to others,” said University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.

Dr. Cummings, who has spent many years working on a malaria vaccine, has helped to shepherd the resources and steer the research in response to the Ebola outbreak in order to create policy changes. One such project has been planning the construction of Ebola treatment units and diagnostic labs in Liberia.

In 2000, Dr. Cummings focused his medical research skills as the assistant chief and subsequently chief of overseas vaccine development for the Department of Immunology’s Division of CDI at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). He has held several other positions at WRAIR, including director of OCONUS Vaccine Trials for the Department of Immunology’s Division of CDI, chief of the Department of Field and Clinical Trials for the Division of Malaria Vaccine Development, and chief of the Department of Clinical Trials for the Division of Regulated Activities.

His military awards include the Order of Military Medical Merit, Meritorious Service Medal [with three bronze oak leaf clusters (3BOLC)], Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (4BOLC), Army Achievement Medal (BOLC), National Defense Service Medal with Device, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, U.S. Army Parachutist Badge and Australian Army Parachutist Badge.

Dr. Cummings serves as an assistant professor of medicine at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences and on the clinical faculty at The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton. A fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, he has contributed to nearly 30 published journal articles and books.

Dr. Cummings graduated from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1993, after earning his bachelor’s degree in biology from The University of Scranton in 1988.


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