The Invisible Backbone: Strengthening Supply Chain and Public Health Infrastructure

Jennifer B. Alton, MPP, is senior strategy and policy advisor at the Coalition to Stop Flu. She has spent her career successfully working at the intersection of government, external stakeholders, and media to identify and achieve win-win policy solutions through trusted relationships and tailored advocacy strategies. Jenn has almost two decades of experience in senior corporate and federal government roles, specializing in life sciences, public health, biotechnology, pandemic preparedness and artificial intelligence in healthcare. She is a center affiliate for the Georgetown University Center for Global Health Science and Security. Jenn has advised senior leaders in the private and public sectors on external affairs strategies and organizational structure, including government relations, coalition building, and strategic communications. Jenn worked in the biotechnology industry for many years, leading the establishment of the U.S. government affairs office for a multi-national company developing vaccines for infectious diseases as well as cancer immunotherapies. As vice president of public policy and government affairs, Jenn led the company’s public policy and federal government affairs activities for eight years, including policy development, political advocacy, public affairs, alliance development, and trade association management. Jenn also worked on Capitol Hill for several years as public health policy director with the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (Senator Richard Burr). She led the development and negotiation of policy and legislation on a variety of public health issues, and successfully shepherded the bipartisan Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act into law, transforming the country’s preparedness for health security threats and establishing two new offices at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). She previously worked at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow focused on budget formulation and legislative affairs; she received the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service. Most recently, she served as a senior consultant to current ASPR and BARDA leadership on external affairs strategies and activities. Jenn earned her Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California Los Angeles, Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Bachelors degree from Whittier College.

Contact: jenn.alton@pathwaypolicy.com

Anita Cicero, J.D., is the deputy director at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and a visiting faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a lawyer with over 27 years of experience. Ms. Cicero works closely with the center director to lead strategic and budget planning and program development. She is also an associate editor of the journal Health Security, the leading peer-reviewed journal in this field. Ms. Cicero has greatly expanded the Center’s efforts in epidemic preparedness policy, global catastrophic biological risk issues, and international programs to engage other countries and regions in collaborative efforts to address biosecurity threats. In working to engage the Center in valuable new exchanges, Ms. Cicero has also launched a number of initiatives to improve mutual understanding and collaboration with countries including the People’s Republic of China, Kuwait, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia. Ms. Cicero has authored or co-authored a number of widely cited articles and reports on biosecurity policy, pandemic preparedness, nuclear consequence management, biosurveillance, international disease surveillance, and public health law. Before joining the Center, Ms. Cicero spent nearly two decades as a practicing attorney in both the US federal government and the private sector. She was managing partner in charge of the Washington, DC, office of Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP, where she was responsible for more than 300 lawyers and staff. In her legal work, she created and managed a number of pharmaceutical consortia, with a particular focus on clinical research and regulatory compliance. Ms. Cicero’s work required constructive engagement with members of Congress; the World Health Organization; the European Commission; the US Food and Drug Administration; the US Departments of State, Defense, and Health and Human Services; and the Environmental Protection Agency. Before entering private practice, Ms. Cicero focused on environmental litigation and counseling. She began her career as a trial attorney in the Honors Program at the US Department of Justice, Environmental Enforcement Section. Ms. Cicero is a graduate of the Yale Law School and Oberlin College.

Contact: centerhealthsecurity@jhu.edu

Nicolette Louissaint, Ph.D., serves as the executive director of Healthcare Ready, where she works to meet the most pressing patient needs before, during and after natural disasters, disease outbreaks and catastrophic events. Healthcare Ready coordinates with health and emergency management across the public and private sectors to ensure communities are prepared and able to bounce back following disasters. Prior to joining Healthcare Ready, Nicolette was the senior advisor to the State Department’s Special Coordinator for Ebola during the height of the Ebola Epidemic of 2014. In this role, she helped coordinate international response efforts. Nicolette currently serves as thepublic health representative on FEMA’s National Advisory Council and as a Commissioner on the Baltimore City Sustainability Commission. Additionally, she serves as a co-chair of the Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Council (HPHSCC), leading on supply chain issues. In this role she also manages the Medical Materials Coordination Group within the HPHSCC. Nicolette holds Bachelors of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biological Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Johns Hopkins University and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Contact: nlouissaint@healthcareready.org

Jennifer Rakeman received her PhD in Microbiology from the University of Washington in Seattle where she studied transcriptional regulation of virulence in Salmonella. She then completed an American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Committee on Postdoctoral Educational Programs (CPEP) Clinical and Public Health Laboratory Microbiology Fellowship at the University of Washington Medical Center, and later, became the Deputy Director of the program. After several years in leadership positions at clinical hospital laboratories, Jen returned to her native New York and became the Associate Director of Microbiology at the New York City Public Health Laboratory. Dr. Rakeman now serves as the Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau and is the Laboratory Director, and in this position, led New York City’s laboratory response to Ebola, the largest Legionella outbreak since the disease was discovered, Zika virus, and the unprecedented 2018-2019 measles outbreak in NYC. Currently, she leads the NYC laboratory response to COVID-19 and serves on the Association for Public Health Laboratories (APHL) National COVID-19 Laboratory Task Force. Dr. Rakeman also led the implementation and oversees operation of NYC’s first Sexual Health Quickie Laboratory, and is using this model of low threshold access to rapid testing to implement rapid turn-around testing for COVID-19 as part of NYC’s pandemic response. Dr. Rakeman is committed to training the next generation of public health laboratory leadership and created and runs a successful post-doctoral training program in public health laboratory science and leadership at the NYC PHL, and was the primary mentor to the first field-based CDC Laboratory Leadership Service Fellow. She is very active in the APHL, chairing the Infectious Disease Committee from 2013 – 2018, and participating in multiple Hill Day events and APHL-CDC Policy Symposiums. Dr. Rakeman has served as the APHL liaison to the Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Tuberculosis, on National Academy of Sciences panels on the national BioWatch program, on the APHL-CDC Advisory Group for Fellowships, and is the chair of the ELC Training Framework Laboratory Workgroup. In 2018, Dr. Rakeman was honored to receive the APHL Emerging Leader Award.

Contact: jrakeman@health.nyc.gov