Dr. Ian Crozier was caring for Ebola-infected people in Sierra Leone in 2014 when he contracted the disease himself.
The 44-year-old physician flew to Atlanta and was placed in the special isolation unit at Emory University Hospital. Crozier, known as “Patient 3” at Emory to protect his identity, was very sick, with multiple organ failure.
Later, after he was successfully treated and discharged, the Ebola virus was found in his eye. That brought Crozier back to the Emory unit for more treatment.
Crozier will be among several veterans of the Ebola response effort who will reassemble at a conference in Atlanta next Wednesday.
Health Connect South will bring together, along with Crozier, the CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden; the medical director of the Emory isolation unit, Dr. Bruce Ribner; Georgia’s public health chief, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald; and Georgia hospital officials, among others.
The Ebola crisis a year ago was a scary time for the public, and even for medical professionals. The contagious disease that had long been confined to a few regions of West Africa quickly began killing thousands of people on its home ground and turning up in isolated cases elsewhere.
Through the efforts of teams in Atlanta and elsewhere, the spread of the disease was checked, and in the past year it has been rolled back in West Africa.
For the conference’s founder, Russ Lipari, the Ebola response here reflects medical collaboration at its height. And that teamwork reflects Health Connect South’s goal – to foster such alliances and collaborations among health care organizations in Georgia and the Southeast.
Last year, amid the first such conference, UCB and Georgia Tech connected to create a project to explore the potential of predictive analytics to help treatment decisions for people with epilepsy.
“Collaboration and ideas and partnerships can come from anywhere,” Lipari says.
This year’s event will be held next Wednesday at the Georgia Aquarium. Participants include Georgia Bio, the Technology Association of Georgia, the Georgia Research Alliance and several universities.
“We hope to share with the larger health community that there is a tremendous amount of health resources that are here,’’ Lipari says.
Speakers will include former Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan; Carter Center CEO Mary Ann Peters; and Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society, which is based in Atlanta.