Dr. Elin Gursky

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Dr. Elin Gursky[1] is a Senior Fellow for Biodefense and Public Health Programs at the ANSER Institute for Homeland Security. She recently has completed a one-year fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, where, among other projects, she examined the medical and public health response to the anthrax attacks of 2001. Since receiving a Doctor of Science degree ('85) from Johns Hopkins, she has held senior level government and private sector positions. As Director of Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Control for Prince Georges County, Maryland (1986), Dr. Gursky addressed and helped reverse epidemic rates of communicable diseases, including infectious and congenital syphilis, enteric pathogens, and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. She instituted the first confidential HIV testing clinic, and piloted a mass vaccination program with the Maryland National Guard to raise the immunization rates of the County's school-age population. She developed an innovative program of staff cross-training to improve the Division's capacity to rapidly mobilize public health teams to respond to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies. During that time she served also as Chair of the Washington (DC) Metropolitan Council of Government's Immunization Task Force that, in conjunction with members of the pharmaceutical industry and the Centers for Disease Control, initiated successful and sustained efforts to raise infant immunization rates in the region.

"Dr. Gursky became a Deputy ('Senior Assistant') Health Commissioner for New Jersey in 1995, building and leading the Public Health Protection and Prevention Programs. She designed and implemented a statewide interactive electronic communication system to improve the accuracy and timeliness of disease reporting, surveillance and response. She developed a fax-based Health Alert system for immediate dissemination of urgent infectious disease information to the medical community. She also instituted a comprehensive review and re-writing of practice standards for the state's 117 local health departments to rebuild the state's public health infrastructure. In 1998 Dr. Gursky accepted the newly created position of Vice President for Public Health for a 10-acute care hospital system. She initiated numerous private-public partnerships to improve community health promotion efforts, addressing issues such as childhood blood lead, women's health, Hepatitis C, pneumococcal pneumonia, prostate cancer, hypertension and asthma.

"Dr. Gursky has contributed to the development of national health policy and clinical practice guidelines. She has testified before Congressional subcommittees and has helped promulgate state health legislation. As a practitioner and epidemiologist, she has focused on communicable diseases and emerging pathogens, improving and coordinating emergency response efforts, and integrating systems of health care delivery between medicine and public health.

"She recently was appointed to a two-year term as a member of the International Human Rights Committee of the American Public Health Association. Dr. Gursky is a disaster volunteer with the American Red Cross. Dr. Gursky's academic credentials include journal articles, commentary, and book chapters as well as developing and teaching graduate-level coursework."