Press Release

For Immediate Release: May 7, 2009

Trust for America's Health on Nomination of Tara O'Toole for Under Secretary for Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security

(Washington, DC) - The following is a statement by Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of Trust for America's Health (TFAH) on the nomination of Dr. Tara O'Toole as Under Secretary for Science and Technology in the Department of Homeland Security:

"Tara O'Toole is a renowned and highly recognized international expert on biodefense and public health preparedness.  She will be a major asset as the Under Secretary for Science and Technology at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, bringing a range and depth of experience to the position.  In her work as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment Safety and Health during the Clinton Administration, she helped protect Americans from environmental threats to health.  At the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies and as one of the founders of the Center for Biosecurity at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), Tara has displayed leadership and helped define policies to better prepare the nation for health emergencies, from pandemic flu to bioterrorism threats.  She's authored numerous thoughtful and incisive analyses on responding to anthrax, smallpox, and plague biological attacks; containment of contagious disease epidemics; biodefense research and development strategies; and hospital preparedness.

"Tara also has served on numerous government and expert advisory committees dealing with biodefense. In 2004, she was elected Chair of the Board of the Federation of American Scientists, and in 2006 she was appointed to the Board of the Google Foundation's International Networked System for Total Early Disease Detection. At the National Academies, Dr. O'Toole served on the Working Group on Biological Weapons Control, and is currently serving on the Committee on Technical and Privacy Dimensions of Information for Terrorism Prevention and Other National Goals.  The American people are fortunate people to have someone with Tara's dedication, experience, and vision to serve in such an important post."


Elle Hogan
202-223-9870 x21