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Class Notes May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Adolfo Correa, M.S. '70, Ph.D. '74

The Kids are Alright. As leader of the birth defects surveillance team at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from 1978-2011, Adolfo Correa discovered that Reye's syndrome—a condition where damage is caused to the brain and liver—is, in part, caused by using aspirin to treat the infection. This led to the recommendation that aspirin not be used to treat young children, and since then, there have been no known cases of Reye's syndrome.

"What appealed to me about pediatrics was that you can actually prevent a number of infectious diseases in childhood," says Correa, who received a second master's and second Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. "It's been very exciting and stimulating work."

Most recently, the Mexico native traveled to Geneva to help devise a three-day intensive training program to help developing countries better detect and prevent birth defects at earlier stages. He also accepted a position at the University of Mississippi in Jackson, Miss., working on the Jackson Heart Study, which researches heart disease among African-Americans. He continues his research on diabetes for the CDC.

For Correa, it's all about giving back.

"I see medicine and public health as a means of resolving social problems," he says. "It reflects your challenges and creativity, and it keeps you going."