Gerald Parker, the Texas A&M Health Science Center vice president for public health preparedness and response, was recently nominated to serve as an ex officio member of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense. The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense will evaluate how prepared the nation is in defending against bioterrorism and dealing with outbreaks caused by infectious diseases.
Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Secretary, co-chairs the panel along with Joe Lieberman, former Senator of Connecticut. Other panelists include Tom Daschle, former Senator from South Dakota, Jim Greenwood, a former Representative from Pennsylvania, Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Kenneth Wainstein, former U.S. Homeland Security Advisor.
Through several workshops and meetings across the country, the panel will carefully assess biodefense programs and policies in order to prevent and detect possible biological threats and to prepare adequate responses. The panel will be making recommendations based on their evaluation so that needed modifications can be made to improve the country’s capabilities and optimize investment resources. Findings will be published in the Spring of 2015.
Parker served 9 years as a senior executive with the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and 26 years active duty in the Army Medical Department. He has proven experience in developing strategies to protect the United States from infectious diseases and chemical threats and coordinated several public health and medical programs. He is also a researcher at the Texas A&M Health Science Center working in the field of the infectious diseases such as pandemic influenza and biological, chemical, radiological and other nuclear threats.