Hailed by CNN as “the infectious disease expert who has been warning us for a decade and a half that the world will face a pandemic,” Dr. Michael Osterholm quickly became the go-to expert on the public health impact of COVID-19. A sharp critic of the complacency that led to the current global pandemic, he points to current shortfalls in our system, individual and public health strategies and an urgent need to mobilize our healthcare system.
Dr. Osterholm predicted a pandemic like COVID-19 in his bestselling book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, a chillingly prescient and detailed account of the most pressing infectious diseases of our day. In Deadliest Enemy, Dr. Osterholm advocates for a plan to combat “an overwhelming army of deadly, invisible enemies” and lays out a nine-point plan to prevent “the unthinkable from the inevitable.”
Dr. Osterholm currently serves as Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota. Between June 2018 to May 2019, he served as a Science Envoy for Health Security on behalf of the US Department of State. In 2008, he was appointed to the World Economic Forum Working Group on Pandemics. In 2005, He was appointed to the newly established National Science Advisor Board of Biosecurity. Between 2001 and 2005, he served as Special Advisor to the Health and Human Services Secretary on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. Previously, he served for 24 years in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health, the last 15 as state epidemiologist and chief of the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section. An expert in bioterrorism, Dr. Osterholm provided a pointed review of America’s current state of preparedness for a bioterrorism attack in his New York Times bestselling book, Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe.
The author of more than 315 papers and abstracts, including 21 book chapters, Dr. Osterholm also serves on the boards of nine epidemiology and infectious disease journals and is a reviewer for The New England Journal of Medicine. He is a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America and has received six major research awards from the NIH and the CDC.