Osterholm awarded McKnight Presidential Chair in Public Health

CIDRAP Director Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, has been awarded by University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler a McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, one of the highest honors given to faculty at the university.

He is the first faculty member to receive the award in the School of Public Health (SPH).

SPH Dean John Finnegan, Jr, PhD, said in a news release, "The Presidential Chair acknowledges the critical contributions of important University faculty who have distinguished themselves and their schools in the missions of research, education, and public engagement."

He added, "This honor to you reflects so well on the whole School."

Osterholm is an international leader in bioterrorism, pandemic influenza, foodborne disease, and other infectious disease threats, including the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa (see his recent opinion pieces in Politico, the New York Times, and the Washington Post).

He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the Council of Foreign Relations. He recently served on the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity and in 2008 was appointed to the World Economic Forum Working Group on Pandemics. Osterholm has also served as a special advisor to former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, and in 2002 and 2003 he helped lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on an interim basis.

Osterholm founded CIDRAP in 2001. He began his public health career at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in 1975 and later served as Minnesota's state epidemiologist and "firmly established MDH as one of the best health departments in the country," according to Finnegan.

Finnegan said, "One characteristic has distinguished Mike's career from its earliest days: he has a gift for informing and educating the media and his fellow citizens about the important dimensions of public health science, preparedness, prevention and health promotion.

"His straight talk on subjects such as influenza, bioterrorism, and pandemic preparedness has earned him a global role as advisor and consultant to the highest levels" of the World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Defense, and CDC.

In addition, Osterholm has mentored and advised hundreds of students in his faculty position at the University of Minnesota.

See also:

Oct 7 SPH news release

McKnight awards home page

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