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Home > Our Work > Events > 2014 Congressional Seminar On The Ebola Outbreak

Congressional Seminar on the Ebola Outbreak: What’s Needed to End This Crisis?

On Wednesday, September 24, 2014, Dr. Tom Inglesby, Director, UPMC Center for Health Security, led a panel discussion to update members of Congress on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Panelists were Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Mr. Jeremy Konyndyk, Director, USAID's office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance; Dr. Joseph Fair, Special Advisor to the Minister of Health of Sierra Leone, Advisor at Fondation Mérieux, USA; and Mr. Andrew Weber, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs. They also discussed actions international organizations could take to curb the outbreak. (Watch Video on C-SPAN2)

Hosted by:
Senator Chris Coons, Chair, Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs
Senator Jeff Flake, Ranking Member, Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs
UPMC Center for Health Security

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Capitol Visitors Center, Room SVC201-00
12:00pm - 1:30pm

The United States and many other nations and international organizations are helping to respond to the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Panelists will discuss: What are the latest updates on the ground? What have we learned so far? Are governments, WHO, and NGOs doing all that is needed to help stop the outbreak? What types of infrastructure vulnerabilities contributed to the current Ebola outbreak? What, if anything, should we be doing differently now or in the future to assist West Africa and other regions in containing future epidemics?


12:00pm Opening Remarks

Dr. Tom Inglesby, Director, UPMC Center for Health Security

12:15pm Panelist Comments and Discussion

Mr. Jeremy Konyndyk, Director, USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance

Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Joseph Fair, Special Advisor to the Minister of Health, Sierra Leone, Advisor at Fondation Mérieux, USA

Mr. Andrew Weber, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs

1:00pm Question & Answer Session


Joseph Fair, PhD

Joseph Fair is a virologist and seasoned public health professional with extensive experience conducting high-impact, entrepreneurial public health surveillance and research programs in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Dr. Fair is a WHO technical advisor and was a co-founder and former vice president of Metabiota, Inc., where he created a $50 million research and development portfolio, funded by the US Department of Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Agency for International Development.

Dr. Fair is a specialist in viral hemorrhagic fever viruses and public health response and management. While at Metabiota, he personally responded to 2 outbreaks of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Sierra Leone and Liberia, serving as the US Interagency Coordinator in the most recent outbreak occurring in West Africa.

Prior to Metabiota, Dr. Fair served as the chief project scientist for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Biological Threat Reduction Agency Program in Ukraine and as a staff scientist for the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Loyola University and PhD and MSPH degrees from Tulane University, where he developed a novel recombinant diagnostic platform for Lassa fever.

In 2007, Dr. Fair’s research and efforts directly resulted in the reestablishment of the Kenema Government Hospital’s ability to diagnose both acute and recent Lassa virus infections by both molecular and serological techniques. Dr. Fair trained under Nobel Laureate Francoise Barré-Sinoussi and virology legend CJ Peters and has traveled the world looking for pathogenic viruses in their endemic settings. He is considered a subject matter expert in emerging infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa and in public health program implementation.


Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Dr. Frieden became Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in June 2009. He has worked to control both communicable and noncommunicable diseases in the United States and around the world. From 1992-1996, he led New York City’s program that rapidly controlled tuberculosis, including reducing cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis by 80%. He then worked in India for 5 years, where he assisted with national tuberculosis control efforts. The program in India has treated more than 10 million patients and has saved more than 3 million lives.

As Commissioner of the New York City Health Department from 2002 to 2009, he directed one of the world’s largest public health agencies, with an annual budget of $1.7 billion and more than 6,000 staff. During his tenure, the number of smokers in New York City declined by 350,000, teen smoking decreased by half, and New York City became the first place in the United States to eliminate trans-fats from restaurants, rigorously monitor the diabetes epidemic, and require certain restaurants to post calorie information prominently. The department also greatly increased colon cancer screening and eliminated racial/ethnic disparities in colon cancer screening rates. Under Dr. Frieden′s leadership, the department established the largest community electronic health records project in the country. The project provided prevention-oriented electronic health records to physicians caring for more than a million New Yorkers, including more than half of the doctors caring for patients in Harlem, the South Bronx, and Bedford-Stuyvesant. The project is a model for efforts to expand electronic health record use nationally.

A physician with training in internal medicine, infectious diseases, public health, and epidemiology, Dr. Frieden is especially known for his expertise in tuberculosis control. Dr. Frieden previously worked for CDC from 1990 until 2002. He began his career at CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer at the New York City Health Department.

Dr. Frieden speaks Spanish and graduated from Oberlin College. He received both his medical degree and master’s of public health degree from Columbia University and completed infectious disease training at Yale University. He has received numerous awards and honors and has published more than 200 scientific articles.


Tom Inglesby, MD

Dr. Inglesby is Director of the UPMC Center for Health Security, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to protecting people's health from the consequences of epidemics and disasters and to ensuring that communities are resilient to those challenges.

Dr. Inglesby's work is internationally recognized in the fields of public health preparedness, pandemic flu and epidemic planning, and biosecurity. He is Chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is Co-chair of the National Health Security Preparedness Index initiative. He has been chair or a member of a number of National Academy of Sciences committees, and he has served in an advisory capacity to the Defense Science Board, the Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security, and the National Institutes of Health. He has been invited to brief White House officials from the past 3 presidential administrations on national biosecurity challenges and priorities, and he has delivered Congressional testimony on public health preparedness and biosecurity. He is also on the Board of Directors of PurThread, a company dedicated to developing antimicrobial textiles.

During the past 15 years, Dr. Inglesby has authored or co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed articles, reports, and commentaries on a wide range of issues related to health and security. He is Coeditor-in-Chief of the journal Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, which he helped to establish more than a decade ago as the first peer-reviewed journal in its field. He was principal editor of the 2002 JAMA book Bioterrorism: Guidelines for Medical and Public Health Management. He is regularly consulted by major news outlets for his expertise.

Dr. Inglesby is Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Medicine and Public Health. He completed his internal medicine and infectious diseases training at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he also served as Assistant Chief of Service in 1996-97. Dr. Inglesby received his MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and his BA from Georgetown University. He continues to see patients in a weekly infectious disease clinic.


Jeremy Konyndyk, MA

Jeremy Konyndyk began his appointment as the Director of USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) in September 2013. As Director of the lead federal office responsible for coordinating the US government’s response to international disasters, Mr. Konyndyk oversees OFDA’s global programs and the office’s responses to an average of 70 disasters in 50 countries every year. Since assuming his position, Mr. Konyndyk has led the US government’s humanitarian responses to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the resurgent conflict in South Sudan, and the ongoing war inside Syria, among other crises.

With a mandate to save lives, alleviate human suffering, and reduce the social and economic impact of disasters, OFDA monitors, mitigates, and responds to global hazards and humanitarian needs as they arise. As Director, Mr. Konyndyk leads a global staff of approximately 300 people and oversees annual resources of more than $900 million.

Prior to his appointment to OFDA, Mr. Konyndyk’s career straddled both policy and operational aspects of humanitarian response across a variety of countries and crises. From 2008 to 2013, Mr. Konyndyk worked for Mercy Corps, a large global relief and development organization. As its Director of Policy and Advocacy, he led high-level strategic outreach to governments, donors, the United Nations, and other partners on a range of issues with a particular focus on resilience and humanitarian responses to crises in Sudan, Syria, and the Horn of Africa. From 2003 to 2008, he served as Country Director for the American Refugee Committee in South Sudan, Uganda, and Guinea, designing and leading operational humanitarian responses in complex conflict and post-conflict settings. Mr. Konyndyk earlier served as a Refugee Officer with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, where he managed the bureau’s program portfolio for the Balkans. In addition, he led nongovernmental organization (NGO) relief programs in Kosovo and Albania following the Kosovo refugee crisis of the late1990s.

Mr. Konyndyk has written and commented widely on humanitarian assistance and humanitarian policy and served as a witness and frequent advisor to US congressional committees and staff. Mr. Konyndyk holds a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and a master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He is fluent in French.


Andrew C. Weber, MS

The Honorable Andrew C. Weber is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics for matters concerning nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs (NCB). The NCB mission is to prevent, protect against, and respond to these global threats. Mr. Weber is the Staff Director of the Nuclear Weapons Council, which manages the nuclear weapons stockpile, and he oversees the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.

Since taking office, Mr. Weber has overseen an expansion of Nunn-Lugar programs into new regions, including the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific. The program has supported the elimination of chemical weapons in Libya and Syria. He has also focused on reform of the nation's biodefense enterprise. His nuclear duties include executing President Obama’s direction to ensure a safe, secure, and effective nuclear weapons stockpile and to prevent nuclear terrorism.

Prior to his appointment by President Obama, Mr. Weber served for 13 years as an adviser for Threat Reduction Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He played a key role in Nunn-Lugar operations to remove weapons grade uranium from Kazakhstan and Georgia and nuclear-capable MiG-29 aircraft from Moldova. Mr. Weber also developed and oversaw the Department of Defense Biological Threat Reduction Program.

Most of Mr. Weber's 28 years of public service have been dedicated to reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction proliferation and terrorism. He served previously as a US foreign service officer, with diplomatic assignments in Saudi Arabia, Germany, Kazakhstan, and Hong Kong.

From 2002 through 2008 Mr. Weber taught a course on Force & Diplomacy at the Edmund A. Walsh Graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He has a master of science in foreign service degree from Georgetown and is a graduate of Cornell University. Mr. Weber speaks Russian and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Hosted by:
Senator Chris Coons, Chair, Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs
Senator Jeff Flake, Ranking Member, Foreign Relations Subcomittee on African Affairs
UPMC Center for Health Security

Wednesday, September 24, 2014



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