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Monica Schoch-Spana, PhD
Senior Scholar, Senior Scientist

Medical anthropology

Monica Schoch-Spana, PhD
Monica Schoch-Spana, PhD

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Professional Profile

Dr. Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist, is a Senior Scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and a Senior Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Since 1998, she has focused her public health career on generating and applying evidence to advise policymakers and practitioners on how to collaborate effectively with private citizens, businesses, and faith- and community-based groups in efforts to manage catastrophic health events. Her areas of expertise include community resilience to disaster, public engagement in policymaking, crisis and risk communication, and public health emergency management (readiness/response/recovery).

During the COVID-19 response, Dr. Schoch-Spana has collaborated in producing guidance to top executives on phased reopening principles, mental health challenges of the pandemic, research needed to support school reopening decisions, and ethical principles for the allocation of the limited future doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. She cochairs the Working Group on Readying Populations for COVID-19 Vaccine, a panel of leading vaccinologists, social scientists, and public health experts who have developed evidence-informed, actionable recommendations on how to enhance public awareness, access to, and acceptance of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Dr. Schoch-Spana’s national advisory roles include currently serving on the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the US Environmental Protection Agency and on the Resilient America Roundtable of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), which she also formerly cochaired. She also presently serves on the NASEM Committee on Community Engagement in Southeast Texas: Pilot Project to Enhance Community Capacity and Resilience to Floods.

Dr. Schoch-Spana has helped guide the direction of policy and practice in public health emergency management such that planning and operations have become more behaviorally realistic; public health communicators are better equipped to meet the population’s informational needs in an emergency; citizens have more venues to contribute their practical, intellectual, and ethical inputs to readiness and response endeavors; and national and local communities are striving to withstand and learn from disasters, rather than merely respond to them.

From 2003 to 2017, Dr. Schoch-Spana worked at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Health Security; prior to that she worked at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, starting in 1998. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from Johns Hopkins University and a BA from Bryn Mawr College.


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