Posted January 28, 2015

Pharmacy alumnus establishes hospital for Ebola workers

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
Rear Adm. Scott Giberson, PHR ’93, (left) gives Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (center) a tour of the field hospital established to treat Ebola healthcare workers.

This story has been updated since its original posting.

On February 11, President Barack Obama delivered an update on the U.S.-led response to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa during a White House event. Introducing the President at the event was Rear Adm. Scott Giberson, U.S. assistant surgeon general and a 1993 alumnus of the Temple’s School of Pharmacy.

Giberson is commander of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps’ Ebola response and spent two months in Liberia last fall overseeing the establishment of a 25-bed field hospital in Liberia to treat healthcare workers who have suspected or confirmed cases of the virus.

Fighting and treating the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa puts healthcare workers at great risk for contracting the deadly disease. More than half of the healthcare workers in Liberia have died from Ebola virus during the current epidemic, according to the World Health Organization.

The hospital is being staffed by a team of 70 specialized officers from USPHS, five of whom are pharmacists, according to Pharmacy Today, the monthly magazine of the American Pharmacists Association.

“Ours is a specific mission—to provide safety and security,” Giberson told the magazine. “It’s one piece—but an integral one—in the overall effort to stop Ebola and take care of the West African people.”

As assistant surgeon general, Giberson maintains effective relationships and collaborations with executive leadership within the federal government and serves as chief executive officer of the 6,500-plus members of the USPHS Commissioned Corps.

“Temple’s School of Pharmacy is proud of the role Rear Adm. Giberson has assumed in this global health crisis,” said Dean Peter Doukas, PHR ’70. "[He] is well known for his pharmacy leadership role both in the United States and abroad, and is an outstanding role model for a profession that provides a wide range of opportunities for graduates to contribute to healthcare at every level of complexity.”

Pharmacy Today noted that Giberson plans to return to West Africa in early 2015 to again oversee the hospital and USPHS response.