Biography

Dr. William Karesh is the Executive Vice President for Health and Policy for EcoHealth Alliance. He is also the President of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Working Group on Wildlife and chairs the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s Wildlife Health Specialist Group, a network of hundreds of wildlife and health experts around the world. He serves as the inter-project liaison for the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT-2 program. Dr. Karesh has pioneered initiatives focusing attention and resources on solving problems created by the interactions among wildlife, people, and their animals. He coined the term “One Health” to describe the interdependence of healthy ecosystems, animals and people and the term has been adopted by many organizations, including the United Nations, in local and global health efforts. Dr. Karesh has created dozens of initiatives to encourage linkages among public health, agriculture and environmental health agencies and organizations around the world. He has personally lead programs and projects in over 45 countries, covering terrain from Argentina to Zambia. In addition to his work in the private non-profit sector, Dr. Karesh has also worked for the USDA, US DOD and DOI. He serves on the World Health Organization’s Roster of Experts, as a consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N., and on the 4-person Steering Committee of OFFLU (OIE-FAO Network of Expertise for Influenzas). Dr. Karesh is internationally recognized as an authority on the subject of animal and human health linkages and wildlife. He has published over one hundred and sixty scientific papers and numerous book chapters, and written for broader audience publications such as Foreign Affairs and The Huffington Post.

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Human outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) may be relatively rare compared to widely established diseases, but as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has demonstrated, they can be catastrophic to societies. They can also be vastly expensive. For example, the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which caused fewer …

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