Dr. Lisa Koonin

Lisa M. Koonin, DrPH, MN, MPH, retired employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, founder of Health Preparedness Partners, LLC, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health has been awarded the 2022 Carole W. Samuelson Endowed Lecture in Public Health Practice.

Prior to founding Health Preparedness Partners, LLC, Dr. Koonin served in several leadership positions over 30+ years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During that time, Dr. Koonin led the development of national preparedness plans and policies, led and conducted large-format exercises, and consulted with businesses, state and local governments, healthcare facilities, non-governmental organizations, academia, and ministries of health around the world, to improve emergency preparedness. She served as a leader in multiple national and international health emergency responses while at the CDC, including the 2016 Zika response, the 2014-2015 Ebola response, the 2013 H7N9 avian influenza outbreak in China, the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza pandemic, 2005’s Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, and the 2005 Marburg virus outbreak in Africa. In 2019, she founded Health Preparedness Partners, LLC, with a goal of helping businesses, health departments, healthcare facilities, and other organizations prepare for health emergencies to protect their organization, workforce, customers, and communities.

Dr. Koonin’s focus is to improve national and international responses to future pandemic emergencies by identifying and tackling complex preparedness issues, establishing mutually beneficial public-private partnerships, and developing new strategies, tools, and capabilities. She is a frequent lecturer at national and international conferences on pandemic and infectious disease preparedness and response and has published more than 95 peer-reviewed scientific publications on an array of public health and preparedness topics. Dr. Koonin has experience and training as a family nurse practitioner and epidemiologist. She earned her Master of Nursing and Master of Public Health degrees from Emory University as well as a Doctorate in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Recently, she was prominently featured in Michael Lewis’ 2021 New York Times best-selling book, The Premonition: A Pandemic Story for her work developing innovative national pandemic community mitigation and social distancing policies.

“I am deeply honored to receive this prestigious award for the 2022 Carole W. Samuelson Endowed Lecture in Public Health Practice,” said Dr. Lisa Koonin. “Dr. Samuelson’s years of outstanding service are a model for public health practitioners who aim to improve community health.”

“Dr. Koonin’s work in developing preparedness response plans, including measures for slowing the spread of novel communicable diseases, has been fundamental to our efforts in controlling the spread of COVID-19, especially in the first few months of the pandemic,” said Paul Erwin, M.D., DrPH, Dean of the UAB School of Public Health. “Developing the evidence-base for what measures actually work in practice is something that certainly honors the legacy of Dr. Carole Samuelson.”

The Carole W. Samuelson Endowed Lecture in Public Health Practice was named in honor and memory of Dr. Carole W. Samuelson, former Director and Health Officer for the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) in Birmingham, AL. To recognize her courage, tenacity, and leadership in promoting quality health and educational services to the public, family, friends, and colleagues of Samuelson established the Carole W. Samuelson Endowed Lectureship in 2002 at the UAB School of Public Health. This endowed lectureship is one of the most highly regarded at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Throughout her professional and community activities, Samuelson led with diligence and innovation while always placing the public first. This lectureship was created to honor her passion for excellence as well as to continue her tradition of intellectual innovation and community involvement.

Dr. Koonin will deliver this year’s Samuelson Endowed Lecture, “A Missing Link in Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response: Engaging Private Sector Partners” at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 3rd in the Hill Student Center Ballroom B. Lunch will be provided and RSVP is required to attend.

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