Rebecca Katz, PhD, MPH, a specialist in global health science and security, has joined the Medical Center faculty along with her research partner, Julie Fischer, PhD, and four other members of her research team, who were recruited from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.
For more than a decade, she and her team have worked to help design systems and implement ways to facilitate a coordinated response to potential microbial outbreaks and pandemics in 22 countries—many lowresourced and developing.
“We analyze policies and practices used throughout the world to prevent, detect, and respond to emerging health threats before they become international crises,” says Katz. “The better a country’s public health systems are, the sooner it can recognize that something abnormal is happening, the faster they can do something about it, and the more lives they are able to save.
“We ask and answer questions like: What kind of systems do you need in place to have countries working together? How do you think about the types of capacity that will be required at the municipality level? What does this mean for travel and trade? Are there international agreements that should be in place to facilitate mitigation and response, and how do countries implement the ones that are already in place?”
These are the challenges that can lead to advances— or breaks—in broader international diplomacy.
Katz says she was attracted to Georgetown because it offers the opportunity to approach the issues through a multidisciplinary lens, engaging faculty and students across the Medical Center as well as with the Law Center, the School of Foreign Service, and other parts of the university.
Before the end of the year, Katz and Fischer will launch the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center. The new center will connect global health efforts already happening across Georgetown.