BOTUSA Staff News

Dr. Michael Craig ThigpenDr. Michael Craig Thigpen was named Associate Director for HIV Prevention Research at BOTUSA. He came to CDC for the Epidemic Intelligence Service program in July 2003. In July 2005 he joined the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Epidemiology Branch where he has worked on a number of international research projects in African counties including Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa. As Associate Director for HPR in Botswana, he will serve as the Principal Investigator for the TDF- 2 Clinical Trial. Dr. Thigpen earned his Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2001, his Medical Degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1997, and his Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee in 1991.
Debra Byrd Debra Byrd was named Senior Administrator for HIV Prevention Research at BOTUSA in September. She joined CDC in September 1999 as the Assistant Chief for Operations for the HIV and Retrovirology Branch of the Division of AIDS, STD, and TB Laboratory Research. In October 2004, she moved to the Epidemiology Branch of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, where she served as the Acting Deputy Branch Chief and Team Leader of the Program Operations Team. She was responsible for management, programmatic, and operational leadership for HIV public health research programs supporting cooperative agreements and contracts in 20+ States and Territories and programs at 4 international field stations (Botswana, Kenya, Cameroon, and Thailand). Ms. Byrd received her Bachelor of Arts in 1991 from the Washington Bible College in Maryland.
Candice Jackson Candice Jackson is the new Senior Administrator for the Global AIDS Program at BOTUSA. She joined CDC in 1988 and spent the first seven years in the STD/HIV and TB Control Programs. In 1995, she worked in the Cancer, Diabetes and Injury Prevention and Control Programs. In 2005, Jackson was assigned to Botswana serving as the Senior Administration for the HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Team, assisting with the start up of the TDF-2 study. She also spent 3 months in Thailand as the Associate Director of Operations for International Emerging Infection Program. Jackson received her Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Georgia in 1999.
John A. Cox John A. Cox has been the Public Health Administrator for the TB-HIV Research branch of BOTUSA since June 2007. Prior to coming to Botswana, Cox had a ten-month assignment with CARE/CORE as Project Director, Polio Eradication Initiative, where he visited Angola, Ethiopia, India and Nepal to review polio eradication activities in those countries. Cox began his career with CDC in November of 1968 with the VD Control Program in Los Angeles. He became a recruiter for CDC hiring new Public Health Advisors (covered the 11 Western States). He also served as Chief of Party with GAP in Angola, where he accomplished the first antenatal sentinel surveillance survey there and coordinated Special Pathogens Branch personnel for the Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever outbreak in the Uige Province.


  • Dr. Douglas Fleming, Associate Director for Science, returned to the United States in August to be closer to family. Fleming served as Associate Director for three years.
  • Daphne Cobb-St. John, Senior Administrator for BOTUSA's HIV Prevention Research section, left in September for London.
  • Peter Fonjungo, Laboratory Director for HIV Prevention Research, left in September for Ethiopia.
  • Kabo Ditlhakeng, Assistant IEC Tech Advisor in the Behavior Change Communication section, left in September to work with the Youth Health Organization (YOHO) in Botswana.
  • Brigitte Schulz, computer technician, left in October to join a private sector firm in Botswana.