Okechukwu (Okey) C. Nwanyanwu, Ph.D., served as commencement speaker for the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health.  Dr. Nwanyanwu is a member of the Senior Executive Service and a distinguished consultant in Center for Global Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is the current country director of CDC Nigeria.

Dean Blakely thanking Dr. Nwanyanwu following his speech

He has been in public health for more than 30 years. Prior to assuming his present position, he served as the senior advisor on Global Health and Health Systems Strengthening in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington D.C. From 2004–2008, he served as CDC country director for South Africa, where he oversaw one of the largest CDC programs in the world with a budget of nearly $300 million annually.

Dr. Nwanyanwu has served in other leadership positions. In 2003, he served as the CDC chief of party in Georgetown, Guyana. From 1998 to 2002, he served as the director of the Office of Health, Population and Nutrition for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Maputo, Mozambique where, he managed one of the largest USAID health portfolios in Africa. In that role, he worked with the government and others to implement comprehensive health programs in the country. From 1992 to 1998, Dr. Nwanyanwu served as CDC advisor to the Malawi government on malaria and HIV/AIDS. In that role, he helped Malawi become the first country in Africa to transition from Chloroquine as first-line treatment for malaria to other more effective drug(s), a policy that helped save the lives of many women and their children, as well as prevent unnecessary morbidity among children and adults alike.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell