10 Interesting Facts About Dr. Fauci

By Loraine Balita-Centeno on June 20 2020 in Science

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force delivers remarks at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Monday, April 6, 2020, in the James S. Brady P
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force delivers remarks at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Monday, April 6, 2020, in the James S. Brady P
  • Dr. Fauci was born in Brooklyn, New York on Christmas eve,1940 into an Italian-American family. His parents were children of European immigrants and owned a drug store in New York.
  • He received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1966 and ranked first in his class.
  • In 2008, Former President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom “for his determined and aggressive efforts to help others live longer and healthier lives.
  • His popularity has spawned numerous fan merchandise, including Dr. Fauci shirts, candles, face masks, mugs, and even bobbleheads among many others.

He’s become one of the most recognizable faces who has been appearing on TV constantly as soon as the coronavirus pandemic hit. Dr. Anthony Fauci is the American physician who’s been serving as the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984. He’s also the expert leading the White House Coronavirus response team who has shown his calm but no-nonsense approach to the pandemic.

As people turn more to experts and scientists placing their trust again on science, many are becoming increasingly interested in the stories behind the experts on TV including Dr. Fauci. If you are one of those who have become fascinated by America’s top infectious diseases expert, here are a few facts you may not have known about him.

10. New York Born And Raised

Brookly-born Fauci was born on Christmas eve, 1940 into an Italian-American family. His parents were children of European immigrants who ran a drug store in New York. In an interview for Holy Cross Magazine, he said that as a young child he helped out the family by delivering prescriptions on his bike. “I was delivering prescriptions from the time I was old enough to ride a bike,” he shared.

As a kid, Dr. Fauci already showed independent thinking by supporting teams he liked even if it was different from what everyone else wanted. It was a prelude to his future role as America’s voice of reason amidst a dizzying pandemic.

9. He Worked Construction When He Was In College

An article for The New Yorker narrated how Dr. Fauci used to spend summers working construction in the 60s. At the time he was taking his Bachelor of Arts–Greek Classics–Premed at Holy Cross, in Worcester Massachusetts. In between semesters, he worked construction and at one point he was assigned to join a crew that was building a new library at Cornell Medical College. During one of his breaks, he went inside the building and imagined what it would be like to attend the school. He told the guard who asked him to leave because his muddy boots were getting the floor dirty, that he’d attend the school the following year. The guard laughed it off, and Dr. Fauci went on to not just attend Cornell, but at the top of his class many years later.

8. He Graduated At The Top Of His Class in Cornell

Dr. Fauci received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1966 and ranked first in his class. He then went on to complete his residency at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Soon he joined NIAID where he spent many years as a clinical associate before becoming its director. His numerous research and studies on various infectious diseases have made him one of the most-cited scientists in America and the world.

7. Served Six Presidents

President George W. Bush poses with 2005 National Medal of Science recipient Dr. Anthony S. Fauci of The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Friday, July 27, 2007, in the Blue Room.
President George W. Bush poses with 2005 National Medal of Science recipient Dr. Anthony S. Fauci of The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Friday, July 27, 2007, in the Blue Room.

The world-renowned doctor has advised several presidents starting with Ronald Reagan who all trusted his expertise. He’s no stranger to leading a country-wide response to a health emergency. In 1984 he became the director of NIAID where he spearheaded numerous research geared towards better understanding and thereby mitigating infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. In 2008, Former President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom “for his determined and aggressive efforts to help others live longer and healthier lives."

6. He Has Received Many Other Awards

Aside from the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest honor given to a civilian by the President of the US), Dr. Fauci has also received many other prestigious awards including the George M. Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians, the National Medal of Science, the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, the Robert Koch Gold Medal, the Prince Mahidol Award, and the Canada Gairdner Global Health Award. He also has 45 honorary doctoral degrees from various universities throughout the US.

5. This Wasn’t His First Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is just one of the many Dr. Fauci has had to deal with throughout his career as an infectious diseases expert. He became director of NIAID at the height of the AIDS pandemic in the 80s, during which he helped the agency increase the number of those who had access to experimental AIDS/HIV treatments thereby saving hundreds if not thousands of lives.  

Throughout his more than three decades as the nation’s expert adviser, he has also handled SARS, MERS, Ebola, Zika, and even the nation’s response to biological weapons like anthrax.

4. He’s Known For His Work Ethic

Pictured are Bill Gates (left), Dr. Anthony Fauci (far left), director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Francis Collins (right), NIH director. Image credit: NIH Image Gallery/Flickr.com
Pictured are Bill Gates (left), Dr. Anthony Fauci (far left), director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Francis Collins (right), NIH director. Image credit: NIH Image Gallery/Flickr.com

Aside from his calm albeit no-nonsense approach to diseases, Dr. Fauci is also known for his fierce work ethic. At 79, he’s considered among the most vulnerable to coronavirus but he has remained in the frontlines giving interviews and explaining the situation almost ‘round the clock. He once told The New York Times that he spends 20 hours a day working and only gets to squeeze in a few minutes of exercise ever since the pandemic started.

3. He's Been Compared To Dr. Thomas Tuttle

They both advised social distancing to control the spread of an infectious disease. They both asked the public to use mask and both talked about asymptomatic patients possibly unknowingly spreading infection. Both have also faced criticism from people who pushed back many of their restrictions. Except Dr. Fauci is helping the US make sense of a modern-day pandemic and Dr. Tuttle was helping the US battle the Spanish flu of 1918. During the height of the deadliest flu pandemic in history, Tuttle warned of a resurgence the same way Dr. Fauci has been warning of a possible second wave.

2. He Has Inspired A Whole Collection Of Fan Merchandise

Many who were anxious and stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic found comfort in hearing Dr. Fauci's press conferences on TV. To many who have recently turned to science for reassurance, Dr.Fauci was the voice of reason. Many saw him as some sort of pop culture icon and his popularity has spawned numerous fan merchandise including shirts, candles, caps, even socks with the famous doctor's face printed all over it. One woman even started a petition, asking People Magazine to give the title 'World's Sexiest Man' to the 79-year old doctor.

1. He Has Refuted President Trump's Statements Several Times

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, responds to a reporter’s question at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Image credit: The White House/Flickr.com
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, responds to a reporter’s question at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Image credit: The White House/Flickr.com

The doctor has contradicted many of the US President’s claims in many interviews he has given during the course of the pandemic. One notable example was when Trump mentioned the idea of using anti-malaria drug chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine against Coronavirus calling it a “game-changer” during a press conference. The following day, Dr. Fauci refuted the President’s statements saying that the drug is not as promising as Trump says calling the evidence purely anecdotal. “It was not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really can’t make any definitive statement about it,” the doctor declared.

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