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October 4, 2013

Johns Hopkins International Vaccine Access Center names new Executive Director

Katherine L. O’Brien, MD, MPH, has been appointed as the executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a year after taking the helm as the Center’s acting director. O’Brien is a Professor in the Departments of International Health and Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School, and brings a wealth of experience as a pediatric infectious disease physician, epidemiologist, and vaccinologist.

“Kate has been an exemplary mentor to hundreds of students and junior faculty, and taken on numerous leadership roles that have enriched the Hopkins community,” said David Peters, MD, DrPH, MPH, chair of the Department of International Health. “As the new executive director of IVAC, I am sure that Kate’s leadership will create even greater benefits to the global vaccine community and the millions of families worldwide still awaiting access to lifesaving vaccines.”

In addition to her role with IVAC, O’Brien serves the Center for American Indian Health at the Bloomberg School as both the deputy director and director of the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Program.

She has authored over 115 scientific publications, many focusing on Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b in children, and in 2012 was named to the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE). She is a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers as well as the Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Young Investigator Award. O’Brien earned her MD at McGill University and her MPH at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  After completing her residency and fellowship at Hopkins, she joined the Respiratory Diseases Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Intelligence Officer. She returned to JHU in 1998 and has been involved with infectious disease research projects at Johns Hopkins since that time.

In 2003, O’Brien began serving as the deputy director for research of the Pneumococcal Accelerated Development and Introduction Plan (PneumoADIP) based at the Bloomberg School, and out of which IVAC was launched in 2009. She has worked alongside every member of the IVAC team to cultivate broad networks of stakeholders in order to integrate diverse aspects of immunization systems, identify opportunities, anticipate needs, and build effective partnerships. O’Brien’s appointment as executive director will undoubtedly strengthen the Center’s contribution of sound scientific evidence to improve vaccine access and implementation.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health media contact: Tim Parsons at 410-955-7619 or