Newswise — Bethesda, MD – Jeffrey D. Freeman, PhD, MPH, has been selected as the new director of the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. USU President, Dr. Jonathan Woodson, made the announcement March 10, 2023. Dr. Freeman succeeds Dr. Thomas Kirsch in the position.
“Dr. Freeman brings a wealth of experience to the position. He is a forward-thinking, innovative leader and I am confident that, under his leadership, the National Center will become the national and international academic center of excellence leading disaster health education and research,” said Woodson.
Dr. Freeman comes to USU after a short stint at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, one of the nation's longest-serving national labs, where he is serving as senior technical staff in the Biotechnology and Human Systems Division. In that role, Dr. Freeman has begun to develop strategies in health innovation and collaboratively drive new advanced technology concepts to solve some of the nation’s most important health and security challenges.
Prior to MIT, Dr. Freeman served as the chief strategist for Health Protection and Assurance at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which is the nation’s largest University Affiliated Research Center. While at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Freeman established the Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Program, and created the Johns Hopkins Disaster Response Corps, which mobilizes scientists, engineers, and technology in support of the nation’s response to disasters. He was also selected as an Emerging Leader in Biosecurity Fellow by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
Dr. Freeman worked in the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta before moving to Johns Hopkins, and was involved in the creation of the Center for Humanitarian Emergencies at Emory University.
Throughout his career, Dr. Freeman has led hundreds of scientists supporting responses to pandemics, including COVID-19, Mpox and Ebola, as well as responses to violent conflicts, natural disasters, and other health emergencies. In March 2020, at the request of senior government officials, Dr. Freeman led a rapid mobilization of more than 100 scientists in support of the federal response to COVID-19. Over the course of the pandemic, he led more than 400 technical staff supporting government organizations across the federal interagency, working on a range of efforts involving authoritative data, analytics and modeling, senior leader decision support, emergency management and medical operations, supply chain, testing and diagnostics, and medical countermeasures.
Dr. Freeman holds a Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University, a Master of Public Health degree in Global Health from Emory University and a PhD in Environmental Health and Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He also has specialized training in disaster management, global complex humanitarian emergencies, risk sciences and public policy, and biomedical informatics. Dr. Freeman holds appointments as research faculty in the Center for Humanitarian Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and adjunct professor in the Population Health Sciences Department at Virginia Tech.
Today, Dr. Freeman is involved in a wide variety of research and development efforts aimed at advancing the nation’s readiness and response to future health threats. As director of the National Center, he will be responsible for establishing, managing, and maintaining the nation’s Joint Program in Disaster Medicine and Public Health, and will lead the National Joint Education and Research Program in Disaster Medicine for all executive departments.
"The opportunity to serve as director of the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health is both humbling and exciting,” said Dr. Freeman. “The National Center is a unique institution as both a federal agency and academic center, but more importantly, it is an organization rooted in service to the nation. I can't imagine a greater privilege than to serve the mission of the Uniformed Services University as it works to protect and restore to health the men and women who have volunteered to serve our nation both here and abroad. It is an incredible honor to support the USU mission, especially at this unique moment in our nation's history."
Dr. Freeman will begin his duties as director of the National Center on May 8 2023.
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About the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences: The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, founded by an act of Congress in 1972, is the nation’s federal health sciences university and the academic heart of the Military Health System. USU students are primarily active-duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service who receive specialized education in tropical and infectious diseases, TBI and PTSD, disaster response and humanitarian assistance, global health, and acute trauma care. USU also has graduate programs in oral biology, biomedical sciences and public health committed to excellence in research. The University's research program covers a wide range of areas important to both the military and public health. For more information about USU and its programs, visit www.usuhs.edu.