Dr. Holmes has guided the development of collaborative research on sexually transmitted diseases through the world. He is a world leader in AIDS and infectious disease research and training and is the first chair of the University of Washington's new Department of Global Health. Prior to that he was the director of the UW Center for AIDS & STD, head of the UW International Training and Education Center on HIV, and the chief of the Division of Allergy and Infectious Disease at Harborview Medical Center. Since 1976 the World Health Organization has relied upon his participation in virtually every key advisory panel related to STD and HIV issues.
The Department of Global Health at UW was created in 2006 with a $20 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a substantial commitment from the UW. It is the only department of global health in the United States run by both a medical school and a school of public health.
Holmes was the founding director of the Center for AIDS & STD, which was created in 1989 to help fight the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. He guided the center through its growth into one of the world's leading AIDS research and training institutions, with about $50 million in annual funding. As a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for AIDS and STD, the UW center took a lead role in research, training, resource development, and technical assistance in developing countries. Holmes brought together countless institutions, organizations, and people in building the Center for AIDS & STD into one of the best centers of its kind. Holmes also has an endowment in his honor in the Department of Medicine at UW.
He received his medical degree from Cornell University in 1963, and his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Hawaii in 1967, while stationed at Pearl Harbor in the United States Navy. He completed his medical training at Vanderbilt University and the UW, serving as chief resident in medicine in the late 1960s. He was an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, and served in several leadership positions in the service from 1969 to 1983. He has been a UW faculty member for more than 35 years. He is board certified in internal medicine and infectious disease, and is a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He has won numerous national and international awards for his research and training in infectious diseases.