Three Years in Ethiopia, How Civil War and Epidemics Led Me to My Daughter

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About the author

Cornelia E Davis

Dr. Cornelia E. Davis, MD, MPH, was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and she graduated from Gonzaga University in Spokane. In 1968, she was one of the first black women admitted to the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. After finishing her pediatric residency at USC Los Angeles County teaching hospital, a chance opportunity led to the World Health Organization hiring her for their smallpox eradication program in India (1975-1977). To date, smallpox is the only human disease that has been eradicated.

Davis returned to the United States in 1977, earned a master of public health degree (MPH) from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and went on to work at the Centers for Disease Control/Atlanta. She battled disease outbreaks in Africa and Asia in twenty countries. She worked in development with UNICEF and the US Agency for International Development.

​​​​​​​While working in Ethiopia during the civil war, Connie adopted her daughter Romene. Now semiretired, she lives on the northern shore of Lake Chapala, near Guadalajara, Mexico. She currently writes memoirs—starting with her smallpox days—Searching for Sitala Mata. She is thrilled the book won Gold medal in the 2017 Global EBook Awards, Non-Fiction, Inspirational!