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October 26, 1984

At crossroads of biomedical research world

JAMA. 1984;252(16):2338-2345. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350160194059

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"I would like to say that health knows no geographical or political boundaries," says Craig Wallace, MD (CAPT, MC, USN), "but we have to be aware of political situations and consider diplomacy in what we do."

In January, after many years of working in overseas medicine, Wallace left his position as commanding officer of Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 in Cairo to begin a new career with the Public Health Service as an assistant surgeon general and as director of the Fogarty International Center. The center is the international component of what he describes as "the largest biomedical research organization in the world"—the NIH.

In dealing with foreign governments, Wallace says, "I wouldn't be truthful if I didn't say there are politics involved." To illustrate this he refers to the recent World Health Assembly where the Iranians, seated next to the Iraqis, became engaged in a "vitriolic" discussion when