After coming to prominence as the unofficial doctor for Native American activists who occupied San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island in 1969, epidemiologist LARRY BRILLIANT, MPH’77, was cast in the 1971 film “Medicine Ball Caravan.” Compensation for the cast included trips to India, which Brilliant, his wife, and some others turned into a road trip from Europe to south Asia to perform humanitarian work. Brilliant returned to the U.S. afterward but traveled back to India to be with his wife. Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba advised Brilliant to remain and offer his expertise to the local United Nation’s office. In doing so, Brilliant eventually joined the regional launch team to combat smallpox. His work directly contributed to the virus’s official eradication in 1980. Brilliant continues to fight disease and other global issues through his philanthropic work, including being CEO of the Pandefense Advisory organization.
For a list of other notable U-M grads, visit umalumni.com/notable-alumni.