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Caitlin Rivers, PhD, MPH

Infectious Disease Epidemiologist; Former Associate Director, Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics at CDC

Dr. Caitlin Rivers uses outbreak science to improve public health preparedness and response, using infectious disease analytics and modeling to support public health decisions. She has experience in areas such as school reopening, testing policy, and balancing control of the pandemic with economic recovery, amongst several other major contributions to the U.S. COVID-19 response.

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In this comprehensive speech, Dr. Rivers describes lessons learned from the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provides educated predictions on the virus itself and its impact on Americans.

Dr. Rivers discusses the nation’s missteps in identifying and controlling the pandemic form a public health standpoint, citing other countries’ response efforts that were more successful, i.e., “who got it right.”

This dynamic speech also proposes a reimagined pandemic preparedness response, describing the need for a National Center for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics and how that programming can help ensure we are not caught in this position again.

Public health has changed the course of history, saving the lives of many millions. Dr. Rivers uses her expert knowledge to answer the questions:

– What lessons can we take from those achievements?

– What were the steps that lead to these accomplishments?

– What is the next frontier of achievement in public health?

Biography

Caitlin Rivers is an infectious disease epidemiologist and faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Rivers’ work focuses on improving our national response to epidemics, pandemics and deliberate events. Notably, she was a long-time proponent for the creation of the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics, which was established in an executive order on President Biden’s first full day in office. In 2021, she joined the CDC for one year to help found the CFA.

Dr. Rivers has also helped to guide the US response to COVID-19, including through the publication of influential reports and op-eds, including “National Coronavirus Response: A Roadmap to Reopening,” which was referenced on FAQ embedded in every New York Times story on coronavirus during spring of 2020. She is the lead author on the report Public Health Principles for a Phased Reopening During COVID-19: Guidance for Governors, which was used by the National Governors Association, the state of Maryland, and the District of Columbia to guide reopening plans.

Dr. Rivers has testified in front of Congress multiple times, including during one of the earliest hearings on the coronavirus pandemic. She served on the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Team. She regularly advises senior leaders at the state and local level, as well as Congressional committees and offices.

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