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Remembering Dr. Kent Campbell

Dr. Kent Campbell, Malaria expert and global health champion

Dr. Carlos “Kent” Campbell, esteemed public health physician, malaria expert, global health champion, and one of the first leaders for the UArizona College of Public Health, passed away in February 2024.

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Carlos “Kent” Campbell, MD, MPH, an esteemed public health physician, malaria expert, and global health champion, passed away on February 21, 2024, after a full and generous life. Kent was instrumental in the creation of our Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona.

Kent began his professional career as a pediatrician working with the US Public Health Service at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and in that role he was stationed in El Salvador for four years working with the Ministry of Health on malaria control. Returning to Atlanta, he served as Chief of the Malaria Branch from 1982 through 1996 where his team advanced therapies for drug resistant malaria, evaluated the impacts of malaria on pregnant women and infants, and demonstrated the effectiveness of insecticide-treated bednets. Kent's leadership in these global efforts was recognized by his selection as President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. His global adventures were also vividly recounted in popular media such as "Fever! The Hunt for a New Killer Virus" by John Fuller and "The Coming Plague" by Laurie Garrett.

Following his service with CDC, Kent joined the University of Arizona and worked with Dr. James Dalen, Vice President of the University of Arizona Health Sciences, to lead the development of the UArizona College of Public Health which was later renamed the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Following the College's accreditation, he served as Interim Dean of the College for two years. In gratitude to the College, Kent and Liz initiated the Kent & Liz Campbell International Public Health Internship, created to assist exceptional Masters in Public Health (MPH) students dedicated to advancing public health initiatives in global communities.

Beginning in 2003, Dr. Campbell served as a consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Infectious Diseases Program where he contributed to the development of the Foundation's malaria control program in Africa. Based on that experience, he launched the Malaria Control and Elimination Partnership in Africa (MACEPA) with the nonprofit global health organization PATH. He went on to serve as the founder and director of the PATH Malaria Center of Excellence. Known to many at PATH for his kind, charismatic demeanor and good-natured sense of humor expressed in his southern drawl, Kent was a dedicated leader in the fight against malaria who had a profound impact on the global effort to control and eliminate the disease.

As director, Kent worked collaboratively to develop malaria control programs that currently operate in more than 40 African nations and have substantially reduced the spread of the disease on the continent. Over his career, Kent contributed to enormous progress in the fight against malaria in Africa, where more than 90% of malaria deaths occur, paving the way for many nations to work towards controlling and ultimately eliminating this dangerous disease.

Kent was born in East Tennessee and was the namesake of his paternal grandfather, Carlos Campbell, a renowned naturalist and a founder of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He met the love of his life Liz (Eliza) in kindergarten, and they married in 1966 and began a grand adventure together. Over the next fifty-eight years, they raised two children, Kris (David) and Patrick (Jennifer) and four grandchildren (Josie, Max, Noah, & Emmett). Kent is also survived by four siblings, Robert (Rita), John (True), Melissa (Steve), Becky (Gary), and a beloved companion, Annie the poodle. He was predeceased by his father (Clinton), mother (Betty Ann), and sister (Ann).


Kent's overall public health impact and unwavering support for our college is an enduring source of inspiration.

Dean Hakim


We mourn the loss of Dr. Campbell, one of our 20th Anniversary Honorees for the Zuckerman College of Public Health. His leadership, vision, and collaborative spirit inspired many others in global health, and he leaves an awesome legacy of public health service. We are forever grateful for his many contributions to the College, and we thank him for all he has done to eliminate malaria around the world. Kent, your exemplary life is sincerely appreciated and will be remembered with gratitude. Thank you for your remarkable contributions!

“I deeply appreciate Kent's visionary leadership showcasing global health and his transformative work on malaria,” said Iman Hakim, MD, PhD, MPH, Dean of the Zuckerman College of Public Health, “His overall public health impact and unwavering support for our college is an enduring source of inspiration. His generosity and dedication shaped our institution and our global health programs, and he empowered the next generation of global health leaders. Kent will be truly missed, but we will continue to honor the legacy of a dear friend, esteemed colleague, and dedicated partner in the success of our college.”

Kent made the world a better place through his dedication to global public health, and he was always rooted in his connection to his family. He asked only to be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and son of the Smoky Mountains. The family will honor his legacy with a memorial service in the Smoky Mountains later this year. Also, the family asks that, rather than flowers, friends and colleagues please consider donating to the Kent & Liz Campbell International Public Health Internship program at the University of Arizona.

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