Milken Institute School of Public Health Experts Available for Comment on the Deadly Ebola Outbreak

Media Contact: Kathy Fackelmann, kfackelmann@gwu.edu202-994-8354

WASHINGTON, DC (September 18, 2014)—Ebola, which was discovered near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a deadly disease caused by one of several virus strains. Previous outbreaks of the disease had been limited but the current Ebola outbreak is the largest in history and the first in West Africa. Experts say the disease continues to spread rapidly and will require a concentrated, global intervention to bring the epidemic under control.

Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University has the following experts available to talk about the current Ebola crisis:

Rebecca Katz, PhD, MPH, associate professor of health policy, is an expert on the intersection of national security and infectious diseases, including the threat posed by the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Katz played a key role, along with other experts, in developing the Global Health Security Agenda, an international initiative aimed at reducing the risk posed by infectious diseases.

Julie Fischer, PhD, associate research professor of health policy, is an expert on disaster preparedness and infectious diseases such as Ebola. She co-directs a research portfolio, along with Rebecca Katz, on global health security and was also involved in the launch of the Global Health Security Agenda.

Fitzhugh Mullan, MD, the Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy, is an expert on the weak public health infrastructure in Africa, where Ebola has killed more than 2400 people to date. Dr. Mullan co-leads a team of researchers coordinating a project called the Medical Education Partnership Initiative or MEPI. The project aims to build healthcare capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa, a goal that, if achieved, would help contain this crisis, and possibly prevent similar situations from turning into a crisis.

Seble Frehywot, MD, an associate research professor of health policy and global health, is an expert on Sub-Saharan African countries and how a health worker shortage affects the containment of diseases. She is co-leading the researchers working on MEPI, which hopes to train more health care workers in Africa.

Amira Roess, PhD, assistant professor of global health, is an expert on outbreak response and epidemiology (transmission and risk factors) for emerging infectious diseases which includes Ebola. Previously, she served as an Epidemic Intelligence officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and investigated several outbreaks of other infectious diseases. She can also talk about health communication campaigns to address emerging diseases and the use of mobile technology on the frontlines of the current epidemic. 

Ronald Waldman, MD, MPH, professor of global health, is an expert on medical infrastructure, emergency relief efforts like those to contain the current outbreak. He can also talk about the global response to the Ebola crisis so far.

Lone Simonsen, PhD, research professor of global health, is an expert on the biology, transmission and spread of infectious diseases, such as Ebola. Dr. Simonsen has been actively involved in investigations of other outbreaks, including the spread of a virus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS. She’s an expert on a scientific process or modeling that is used to predict how an outbreak will change in the future.

Sally Lahm, PhD, MA, a professorial lecturer in the Department of Global Health, is an expert in ecology and epidemiology of zoonotic and infectious diseases, including the Ebola virus. She has direct field experience researching and responding to outbreaks of Ebola virus in both human and animal populations in rural areas of Gabon and Republic of Congo, and in providing Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response training for government ministry staff in Democratic Republic of Congo. She also has published on how climatic factors and habitat destruction across Africa have coincided with a growing threat of Ebola virus to both humans and wildlife.

About Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University: Established in July 1997 as the School of Public Health and Health Services, Milken Institute School of Public Health is the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, nearly 1,400 students from almost every U.S. state and more than 43 countries pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, and an online Executive Master of Health Administration, MHA@GW, which allow students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world.