Former Merck Executive Joins APCO
Strengthens Firm’s Leadership in Global Health
Washington, D.C. (November 15, 2007) – Dr. Linda M. Distlerath, a leading health policy expert, joined APCO Worldwide as a senior vice president, Robert Schooling, chairman of APCO's worldwide health care practice, announced today.
Distlerath, former vice president of global health policy and health policy, Asia Pacific, at Merck & Co., Inc., is an expert in HIV/AIDS, vaccine policy issues, collaborations with nongovernmental organizations, public-private partnerships with foundations, multilateral organizations, academic institutions and governments worldwide. Her experience spans Africa, China, Southeast Asia and beyond.
"Linda's strategic direction and expertise dealing with HIV/AIDS and other health policy initiatives will be a tremendous addition to a remarkable team," said Schooling. "She is a respected global leader in health care who has been on the front lines of some of the world's most pressing health care challenges."
Distlerath joins a robust global health team, including James M. Jones, former executive vice president of The Vaccine Fund, and Trevor Neilson, former executive director of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Distlerath will also work with former Department of Health and Human Services senior executive William Pierce; policy expert Courtney Piron, previously of Pfizer; and Wayne Pines, former head of public affairs for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to assist health care clients in the U.S. and around the world.
While at Merck, Distlerath spearheaded the development and implementation of the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships, a unique public-private partnership among Merck and The Merck Company Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Government of Botswana.
"I have seen first-hand how important it is for business, governments and nonprofit organizations to work together," said Distlerath. "I know that APCO is a real trendsetter in defining the next generation of public-private partnerships, which is just one reason I'm excited to be joining this world-class team."
Distlerath led Merck's efforts in forging relationships with the AIDS advocacy community in the United States, especially during the clinical development and introduction of Crixivan®, the first of Merck's medicines for the treatment of HIV infection. She is an active contributor to numerous HIV/AIDS-related forums and programs, including those associated with the Center for Strategic & International Studies, the World Economic Forum and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Distlerath began her work at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL) as a clinical research associate in 1984, and transitioned to academic and industry relations for MRL before moving to the company's corporate public affairs group. She held positions as executive director for public affairs, executive director of public policy, vice president of public affairs and served as president of The Merck Company Foundation.
Distlerath holds a Bachelor of Science in medical technology from the University of Michigan and a Doctor of Philosophy in environmental health from the University of Cincinnati. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in biochemistry at Vanderbilt University and holds a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School-Newark. Distlerath is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a trustee for the Committee for Economic Development, an advisory board member for the journal Global Health Governance and an adjunct professor in public health at East Tennessee State University.
About APCO Worldwide
Founded in 1984, APCO Worldwide is an independently owned global communication consultancy with offices in major cities throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. APCO was named 2007 PR Agency of the Year by PRNews; 2006 Agency of the Year by PRWeek; 2007, 2006 and 2005 European Consultancy of the Year by Public Affairs News; and 2004 Public Affairs Agency of the Year by The Holmes Report. Clients include corporations, governments, industry associations and nonprofit organizations. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., APCO includes among its clients seven of the top 10 companies on Fortune’s Global 500. Core services include corporate, investor and internal communication; crisis management; issue management; government relations; litigation communication; media relations; coalition building; opinion research; market entry; corporate responsibility; and online communication. APCO is a majority women-owned business. For more information, please visit www.apcoworldwide.com.