ABDALLAH E. NAJJAR, PhD.
Abdallah E. Najjar was born in Baakline, Lebanon to naturalized American parents, on March 7, 1922. After graduating with honors from the National College of Aley in 1939, he completed his college studies at the American University of Beirut, and then subsequently reported to his Draft Board for military service in the United States Armed Forces during World War II. He served in the U. S. Army 3rd and 9th divisions in France and Germany until his honorable discharge in the fall of 1946, but was subsequently hospitalized in a Veterans Administration facility due to a service connected disability that was incurred previously in Europe during the war.
From 1948 onward, pursuant to a cooperative business venture with his two brothers and cousin in Mullens, WV and later in Martinsville, VA, Dr. Najjar returned to academia in the pursuit of further education in the biological sciences and in public health. In 1951, he received an appointment as a Parasitologist in the Office of International Health of the United States Public Health Service in Washington DC. During this period, Dr. Najjar was seconded to the Foreign Service Institute to study Persian in preparation to joining the U.S. Public Health Team in Iran where he headed the National Malaria Control Program with his Iranian Counterpart.
Returning to Washington in 1954, Dr. Najjar was appointed as Training Officer in the Office of the Surgeon General to oversee the postgraduate training of professional health workers from abroad in the various graduate schools of Public Health in the United States. However, the lure to serve in the third world in the field of Health and Disease Control enticed him to accept an assignment in Ethiopia as Epidemiologist with the USAID Technical Assistance Team. For the four following years he conducted countrywide epidemiological surveys and trained native cadre while establishing baseline date for a national Malaria Eradication Campaign that ensued.
Dr. Najjar’s International Health career in cooperation with the World Health Organizations and UNICEF was complimented by a specific request from the University of Teheran and the Iranian Ministry of Health to be seconded again to Iran as Senior U.S. Advisor for the implementation of the final phase of the eradication campaign against the ancient scourge, Malaria. The Public Health Officials, the faculty of the University of Teheran and the Plan Organization of the Imperial Government recognized his services to the country with special Honors and tributes.
In 1964, he returned to the United States of America with his wife and three young sons and was reassigned to the U.S.P.H.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta Georgia where he established the Office of International Services. He progressed in this service and attained a Director’s rank with responsibilities for coordinated training of international physicians and other health care professionals from around the world. He developed curricula, recruited teaching and administrative staff and directed courses in epidemiology and public health administration in disease control. Dr. Najjar also administered twenty two collaborative research programs in communicable diseases under the P. L. 480 of the Department of H. E.W. and State.
Upon his retirement after 31 years of service with the U.S. Government, he continues his unabated activities in Arab-American affairs, research in Druze theosophy, American Druze Community charities and functions and local civic involvements that include the Atlanta Committee of the Olympic Games – centennially 1996, the Kiwanis Club and several associations.
Dr. Najjar is married to O. Geraldine Blankenship. They have three sons; Alan, financier, Omar, a physician, Mark, an executive with Coca-Cola; and five grandchildren.