Eric K. NOJI

Official Biography

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Eric K. Noji, MD, MPH, MBA, DTM&H(Lon), FRCP(UK)hon

Consulting Physician, Global Health and Security
Director [Retired] International Emergency & Populations in Transition Program
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Member, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science [2005]

Dr. Eric K. Noji is a physician with over 25 years of experience working in the fields of global and environmental health, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, reconstruction, emergency preparedness and crisis monitoring. He has served as Senior Technical Advisor, Team Leader, Program/ Project Manager, and consultant on numerous occasions to solve a wide variety of medical and public health problems for government agencies such as FEMA and the US State Department, NGOs such as Save the Children and Medicins san Frontieres, and international organizations such as USAID, WHO, UNICEF, and the World Bank.

A native of Hawaii, Eric Noji is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford, and completed his medical studies, graduate work and residency training at the University of Rochester, the University of Chicago and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Noji was a member of the full-time faculty at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an Attending Emergency Physician at the Johns Hopkins Hospital prior to joining the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 1988. For much of his twenty years at the CDC, he coordinated the agency’s domestic and international response to natural and technological disasters, terrorism, violent civil conflict, epidemics, wars and other humanitarian crises resulting in hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced people. Other positions and assignments during his CDC career included Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Disaster Preparedness; Chief, Health Studies Branch, Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, Associate Director of the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program at the National Center for Infectious Diseases; Senior Advisor for Crisis Management, Immediate Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.; Senior Policy Director for Science, White House Office of Homeland Security in the Executive Office of the President; Deputy Medical Director of the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance Humanitarian Assistance Mission for Operation Iraqi Freedom; Senior Policy Advisor for Emergency Preparedness and Response , CDC Office of Legislative Affairs in Washington, D.C.; Special Assistant to the U.S. Surgeon General for the Medical Reserve Corps; Senior Science Advisor, Office of the FEMA Administrator

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From 1996-2001 CDC assigned Noji to the World Health Organization’s Department of Emergency and Humanitarian Action in Geneva, Switzerland where he served as Director of Global Health Intelligence for Emergencies responsible for monitoring the health of refugees and other forcibly displaced populations around the world (including early warning of pandemic avian and swine flu and other causes of catastrophic life-threatening potential). For his work at the CDC, WHO and other international organizations, Dr. Noji was the recipient of the prestigious Cutler Award for outstanding achievements in Global Health (the previous recipient was D.A. Henderson, architect of the global eradication of smallpox). Noji’s acceptance speech on the evening of September 29, 2006 was web cast around the world live to 100 countries and over 1.5 million people – the largest audience for an academic lecture in history (as of 10 November 2011, over 3.2 million people have viewed his lecture on the « Health Consequences of Disasters and other Emergency Health Crises »).

Professor Eric Noji is a medical doctor who recently relocated to blazing deserts of Saudi Arabia from the dark windswept desolation of Antarctica where he studied the effects of extreme environments on human survivability. Noji has spent much of the past 30 years as a specialist in disaster aid and humanitarian assistance. So much has been said and written about the life and work of Eric Noji a story so mythic in its epic sweep and inspirational in its chronology of service and unrelenting self-sacrifice on behalf of those who suffer that it’s difficult to summarize his career without restating clichés already familiar to his legion of admirers. To start with the obvious he is among but a handful of disaster aid professionals whose innovative thinking and on-the-ground research established much of the scientific basis for current health responses to disasters and other humanitarian crises. working internationally, primarily in the poorest countries where he has served as Senior Technical Advisor, Team Leader, Program/ Project Manager, and consultant on numerous occasions to solve a wide variety of medical and public health problems for government agencies, NGOs, and international organizations such as USAID, WHO, UNICEF, and the World Bank.

Most of his assignments overseas were in response to large-scale public health emergencies such as natural disasters, epidemics, and situations where violent civil conflict has forced communities to leave their homes resulting in catastrophic humanitarian crises as we are currently witnessing in Syria and Yemen. Such disasters have taken Dr. Noji all over the world, including assignments in northern and sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Balkans, the Middle East from Lebanon to Afghanistan, China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Rim, and for almost a year he provided medical care to communities in the vast Siberian tundra, most of which were located well above the Arctic circle. These regions had become almost completely isolated following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Almost always, his work took him to the most dangerous of places under the most difficult of circumstances, in the most austere environments and most inhospitable of conditions – from the blazing Arabian and Gobi deserts, navigating the ancient Silk Road as it wound its way through treacherous passes at 18,000 feet, to combating deadly communicable diseases in isolated African villages rarely visited since the days of Stanley and Livingstone to the perpetual isolation, darkness and and icy winds of Antarctica.

During these years, Noji developed several technological innovations to care for emergency affected populations that many now consider visionary. He subsequently summarized this work in a series of groundbreaking publications that revolutionized medical care in disaster situations and were influential in establishing public health standards for emergency health personnel. In 2005, Dr Noji was recognized for this pioneering work when he was elected to the US Institute of Medicine the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a physician in the US. On 14 July 2017 (Bastille Day) Professor Noji will be honored by the Government of France in Paris, where he will be inducted into the prestigious Ordre des Palmes Académiques at the rank of Chevalier (Knight). The Ordre des Palmes Académiques is an Order of Chivalry established by the Emperor Napoléon in 1808 to honour eminent professors and teachers in the world of science, culture and education.

Although Dr. Noji retired from Federal service in 2008 after more than 20 years as a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control, he continues to provide his keen insights regarding global risk intelligence strategies, catastrophic risk management solutions, evolving humanitarian trends, newly emerging global health threats and enterprise crisis management strategy to senior government officials at the highest levels, relevant UN and international organizations, influential foundations and philanthropic groups, universities and respected think tanks, global corporations and financial institutions and nongovernmental organizations with the strongest track records for doing the best work. But what he is most proud of continues to be his tireless (and highly successful) efforts to raise awareness and money for people and groups whose work he passionately believes in, primarily those organizations working to strengthen the education and health of children with very special needs who are homeless, abused, starving, illiterate, left orphaned or destitute by natural disasters, or physically and emotionally traumatized by war.

A native of Hawaii, Eric Noji is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford, and completed his medical studies, graduate work and residency training at the University of Rochester, the University of Chicago and the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

« I live and work on the edge – the views are breathtaking, the experiences deep and satisfying and the learning is limitless » (from the Foreword to his three volume set of memoirs « Confessions of a Wanderer »)

Eric Noji is the author or co-author of over 250 scientific articles and publications on disaster medicine, field applications of epidemiology in mass emergencies, clinical toxicology and the public health response to natural disasters, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, refugee crises, famine and complex humanitarian emergencies. Noji’s Public Health Consequences of Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2003) is still the most widely used educational textbook on the topic of public health preparedness. In 2005, he was elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science for pioneering work in establishing the scientific basis for the public health response to natural disasters, refugee crises, global climate change, technological emergencies, food and water security and other environmental hazards and health effects such as threats to global biodiversity. From 1999 to 2008 served as President of the Society of Alumni of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene & Public Health. Dr Noji is an adviser or board member of several major corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government advisory councils and commissions and continues to regularly advise senior government officials, international organizations, foundations, corporations and to organizations that provide humanitarian aid, reconstruction assistance, and emergency preparedness training advice regarding global risk intelligence strategies, catastrophic risk management solutions, evolving humanitarian trends, newly emerging global health threats and enterprise crisis management strategy.

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