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Tara O’Toole, M.D., M.P.H., nominated for Under Secretary for Science & Technology in the DHS

Tara O’Toole, M.D., M.P.H., nominated for Under Secretary for Science & Technology in the DHS
05-08-2009

Author: FAS Staff

Type: Release


     We at the Federation of American Scientists were delighted to learn that President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Tara O’Toole, M.D., M.P.H., and former FAS President for Under Secretary for Science & Technology in the Department of Homeland Security.

     Dr. O’Toole is internationally known for her work on biosecurity and on health and safety issues related to the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. She is the CEO and Director of the Center for Biosecurity, an independent, nonprofit organization of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), which she founded in 2003. She is a Coeditor-in-Chief of the journal Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science. She was a principal author and producer of Dark Winter, an influential exercise conducted in June 2001 to alert national leaders to the dangers of bioterrorist attacks. She was also a principal writer and producer of Atlantic Storm, an international ministerial-level biosecurity exercise held in January 2005. Dr. O’Toole has also authored numerous incisive analyses on responding to anthrax, smallpox, and plague biological attacks; containment of contagious disease epidemics; biodefense research and development strategies; and hospital preparedness.

     Dr. O’Toole was one of the original members of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies and served as its Director from 2001 to 2003. She has served on numerous government and expert advisory committees dealing with biodefense, including panels of the Defense Science Board; the National Academy of Engineering Committee on Combating Terrorism; and the National Academy of Sciences Working Group on Biological Weapons. She served as the Chair of the Board of the Federation of American Scientists from 2006-07, and in 2006 she was appointed to the Board of the Google Foundation’s International Networked System for Total Early Disease Detection (INSTEDD).

     From 1993 to 1997, Dr. O’Toole served as the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment Safety and Health.

     She served with great distinction for six years as the Chairman of the FAS Board where she ensured that the organization maintained its reputation for sound technical analysis and openness to many points of views.  We are particularly grateful for her help in building a creative, energetic, and highly respected program in biosecurity at FAS.  We wish her great success in her critical new assignment. 

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