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Ammann, Arthur J. (1936-) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Ammann, Arthur J. (1936-)


Historical Note:

Arthur J. Ammann was born on August 12, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York to German immigrants.  He graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and  came to Wheaton College intending to major in mathematics.  After taking a class in biology, he became interested in embryology, and ultimately changed his major to biology, graduating in 1958. Today Dr. Arthur Ammann is celebrated for his pioneering work in HIV/AIDS research and antiretroviral drug development, but he has always had a heart of compassion for people in need.

While at Wheaton, Art volunteered with the Christian Service Council, setting up a Sunday school class at a south side church, and visiting the homes of many local families.  It was through these weekly excursions that he met his wife, Marilyn Mihm '58.  They have raised two children, Kimberley and Scott, and havc now been married for 47 years.

After graduating from Wheaton, Art went on to medical school at the New Jersey College of Medicine, and graduated in 1962. He received residency training from the department of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco and obtained fellowship training in immunology from both the University of Minnesota Medical Center and the University of Wisconsin Medical Center.

From 1971 to 1985, Dr. Ammann was director of pediatric immunology and rheumatology and director of the Clinical Research Center at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.  During that time he established the pediatric bone marrow transplant program, developed innovative therapy for immunodeficiency diseases, and discovered several new immunodeficiency disorders.  In 1982 he first described two of the three known means of HIV transmission -- mothers to infants and through blood transfusions. He also diagnosed the first children with HIV infection.

From 1985 to 1992 he worked at Genentech, Inc. where he became the director of clinical research for infectious diseases and engaged in the development of an HIV vaccine and products to regulate the immune response. From 1992 to 1996 he served as the chairman of the health advisory board and director of research for the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. From 1992 to 2000 Dr. Ammann was on the Presidential Task Force for AIDS Drug Development.

Dr. Ammann is currently clinical professor of pediatric immunology at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, and president of Global Strategies for HIV Prevention, which he founded in 1998. Global Strategies for HIV Prevention is a non-profit organization dedicated to HIV prevention and responding to the needs of HIV infected women and children worldwide. Global Strategies programs include Save a Life which supplies and oversees the distribution of HIV tests and nevirapine, a drug that helps inhibit the transmission of the HIV virus from a mother to her unborn child; Hope Walks which partners with faith based organizations in resource poor countries to provide health, education, physical and spiritual support for orphans and vulnerable children; and education and training programs for health care workers in HIV prevention and care.

Dr. Ammann has served with many volunteer and professional organizations in the scientific community, including National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control advisory committees.  He has received over forty honors and awards, including the United States Surgeon General Award for Research, the United States Public Health Service Fellowship Award, recognition by POZ magazine as one of the 50 most innovative AIDS researchers,  AmFAR World AIDS Day Recognition Award for contributions to pediatric HIV/AIDS, and the Heroes in Medicine Award by the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care.

Dr. Ammann has authored or co-authored over 325 scientific papers which have appeared in publications including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Immunology, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Lancet.  He has authored or co-authored chapters in pediatrics, imnmnology, and HIV/AIDS textbooks. In addition to national lectures and courses on immunology and HIV/AIDS, Dr. Ammann has taught in Africa, India, South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and China.

As Wheaton College has prepared an institutional response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Dr. Ammann’s expertise provided critical insight in a number of ways, including his participation in a faculty workshop on the subject in 2005. For his Christ-like dedication to improving and saving the lives of marginalized people of the world through the field of medicine, the Wheaton College Alumni Association honored Dr. Arthur Ammann as 2007 Alumnus of the Year for Distinguished Service to Society.

Sources: Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections staff






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