Dr Daniel Tarantola was born in Ajaccio, Corsica, France on 11 March 1942.
Dr Tarantola received his medical degree from the Paris University Medical School in 1973. Afterwards, he pursued postdoctoral training in a wide variety of areas including the management and evaluation of immunization and diarrhoeal control programmes, applied epidemiology, and nephrology.
At the time of his appointment, Dr Tarantola was Director of the International AIDS Programme of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health. Before that, Dr Tarantola held several important posts including Scientific Editor, International AIDS Center of the Harvard School of Public Health (1991-1992); Chief of WHO's Relief and Rehabilitation Programme (1990-1991); Chief of the WHO/GPA National Programme Support Unit (1986-1990); Medical Officer, Epidemiologist in the WHO Health Situation and Trends Assessment Programme (1984-1986); and Regional Advisor on Communicable Diseases in the WHO Western Pacific Region (1984-1986). Dr Tarantola started work with WHO in 1974 as a member and then team leader of the Smallpox Eradication Programme in Bangladesh.