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B. Frank and Kathleen Polk Assistant Professorship

B. FRANK POLK, M.D., Sc.D., was born in San Angelo, Texas. He received his BA from the University of Texas in 1963, his M.D. in 1967 from the Baylor College of Medicine, and his Sc.D. in 1976 from the Harvard University School of Public Health.

A brilliant researcher and compassionate humanitarian, Dr. Polk directed the AIDS outpatient clinic at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he treated hundreds of AIDS patients. Complementing his service at the Hospital, he helped to establish an AIDS hospice at the Joseph Richey House in Baltimore.

Trained in epidemiology and infectious disease, Dr. Polk not only dedicated himself to teaching, but also used innovative, creative approaches to solve clinical problems with epidemiological methods. At the start of the AIDS epidemic, he recognized the need for epidemiological research on what was, at the time, a mysterious disease. He soon became an internationally acclaimed leader in AIDS research. In the 1980s he founded two major cohort studies — the Study to Help the AIDS Research Effort (SHARE) as part of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), and the AIDS Link to Intravenous Drug Experience (ALIVE) — both of which were so essential and pioneering that they are still active.

In 1986, Dr. Polk was awarded a Fogarty Center grant that continues to train HIV investigators from around the world. Dr. Polk’s legacy will continue through the B. Frank and Kathleen Polk Assistant Professorship within the Department of Epidemiology. The endowment will support junior faculty within the Department of Epidemiology who show great potential for future contributions to public health.

Second Century Distinguished Professorship Fund