Dr. Kate O’Brien appointed Director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

Milestones :: Perspectives

October 2018

Dr. Kate O’Brien appointed Director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals
Dr. William Moss named Interim Executive Director, IVAC

The International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) congratulates Kate O’Brien, MD, MPH, Executive Director of IVAC in the Department of International Health, on her appointment as Director of the World Health Organization Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals.

Dr. O’Brien’s appointment reflects the important contributions of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of International Health and IVAC to strengthening global immunization programs, especially over the past 15 years since the beginning of IVAC’s work as PneumoADIP.

Dr. O’Brien’s career in vaccines and immunizations over the past 25 years at the Bloomberg School was sparked by her field experience in Haiti caring for children who needlessly suffered from vaccine-preventable diseases. Her contributions to on-the-ground field research in vaccine clinical trials, disease epidemiology, and vaccine impact studies have extended to policy- and implementation-oriented work in countries throughout Africa and South Asia. She also directed the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Program at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health.

Dr. O’Brien served as IVAC’s Executive Director for six years and has made lasting contributions to the global immunization landscape through her tenure as a contributor to and member of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization, which shapes global recommendations and practice. She is also a member of the Gavi board and an advocate for research and evidence-based policy, work that is enriched by deep experience on many global- and country-level immunization projects.

She brings to WHO a vision of delivering the greatest possible impact through the immunization and vaccine program for families, communities, and countries. At the center for her strategic direction for maximizing impact at WHO are innovation, tailored support for countries, committed partnership, strong evidence through high-quality data, forward-leaning policies, and equitable access.

Dr. O’Brien brought tremendous energy and drive to her tenure at IVAC and the school and leaves behind a strong team that will continue to advance IVAC’s mission. We look forward to working with Dr. O’Brien in her new role at WHO…