Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH

Portrait of Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH

Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH

TLI Faculty, Technological Leadership Institute
Education

Doctorate of Science (honoris causa)
Luther College

Ph.D. Environmental Health
University of Minnesota

M.P.H. Epidemiology
University of Minnesota

M.S. Environmental Health
University of Minnesota

B.A. Biology and Political Science
Luther College

Biography

Dr. Osterholm is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the Council of Foreign Relations. In June 2005 Dr. Osterholm was appointed by Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to the newly established National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity. In July 2008, he was named to the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center’s Academy of Excellence in Health Research. In October 2008, he was appointed to the World Economic Forum Working Group on Pandemics.

From 2001 through early 2005, Dr. Osterholm, in addition to his role at CIDRAP, served as a Special Advisor to then–HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. He was also appointed to the Secretary's Advisory Council on Public Health Preparedness. On April 1, 2002, Dr. Osterholm was appointed by Thompson to be his representative on the interim management team to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With the appointment of Dr. Julie Gerberding as director of the CDC on July 3, 2002, Dr. Osterholm was asked by Thompson to assist Dr. Gerberding on his behalf during the transition period. He filled that role through January 2003.

Previously, Dr. Osterholm served for 24 years (1975-1999) in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the last 15 as state epidemiologist and chief of the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section. While at the MDH, Osterholm and his team were leaders in the area of infectious disease epidemiology. He has led numerous investigations of outbreaks of international importance, including foodborne diseases, the association of tampons and toxic shock syndrome (TSS), the transmission of hepatitis B in healthcare settings, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in healthcare workers. In addition, his team conducted numerous studies regarding infectious diseases in child-care settings, vaccine-preventable diseases (particularly Haemophilus influenzae type b and hepatitis B), Lyme disease, and other emerging infections. They were also among the first to call attention to the changing epidemiology of foodborne diseases.

Dr. Osterholm was the Principal Investigator and Director of the NIH-supported Minnesota Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (2007-2014) and chaired the Executive Committee of the Centers of Excellence Influenza Research and Surveillance network.

Dr. Osterholm has been an international leader on the critical concern regarding our preparedness for an influenza pandemic. His invited papers in the journals Foreign Affairs, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature detail the threat of an influenza pandemic before the recent pandemic and the steps we must take to better prepare for such events. Dr. Osterholm has also been an international leader on the growing concern regarding the use of biological agents as catastrophic weapons targeting civilian populations. In that role, he served as a personal advisor to the late King Hussein of Jordan. Dr. Osterholm provides a comprehensive and pointed review of America's current state of preparedness for a bioterrorism attack in his New York Times best-selling book, Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe. He is the author of the 2017 book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, in which he not only details the most pressing infectious disease threats of our day but lays out a nine-point strategy on how to address them, with preventing a global flu pandemic at the top of the list. The author of more than 315 papers and abstracts, including 21 book chapters, Dr. Osterholm is a frequently invited guest lecturer on the topic of epidemiology of infectious diseases. 

Alternate Job Roles
McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health

Director
Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP)

Distinguished University Teaching Professor
Environmental Health Sciences
School of Public Health

Adjunct Professor
Medical School

Curriculum Vitae

Expertise

  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious disease
  • Foodborne illness

Programs
M.S. in Security Technologies