Division of Health Informatics and Surveillance (DHIS)
Oona Powell, MA
Associate Director for Communication
Oona Powell, MA, brings 23 years of federal experience to her position of associate director for communication science, Division of Health Informatics and Surveillance (DHIS). During her tenure at CDC, Ms. Powell served as enterprise communication officer for the Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases and was acting chief of the Health Communication Branch at the Office on Smoking and Health.
While at the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Ms. Powell was lead health communication specialist for the asthma prevention program, receiving the CDC/ATSDR Honor Award for Communication Services. Her CDC experience also includes serving as senior press officer for NCEH and as deputy chief of the Community Outreach and Planning Branch at the National Immunization Program.
Before joining CDC, Ms. Powell served as a natural hazards program specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) where she developed and implemented initiatives to educate state and local officials and other key stakeholders about the National Flood Insurance Program and community hazard mitigation strategies. Her work at FEMA included making numerous disaster-relief deployments in response to hurricanes, floods, and tornados. Also at FEMA, she served as the Southeastern Region coordinator for the national hazard mitigation initiative, Project Impact: Building a Disaster Resistant Community.
Ms. Powell began her federal career as a public affairs specialist with the Department of the Army where she helped develop initiatives to improve military support to civil authorities during emergency responses. In this role she developed public affairs plans and served on emergency-response deployments after natural disasters such as Hurricane Hugo, South Carolina; Hurricane Andrew, Florida; the Alberto Floods, Georgia; and Hurricane Marilyn, U.S. Virgin Islands. For her work during these deployments, Ms. Powell received the Civilian Humanitarian Service Medal and the Superior Civilian Service Medal. She also won first place in the Best Field Newspaper category of the Army’s MG Keith L. Ware Journalism Competition.
Ms. Powell taught survey research and statistical analysis as an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University and also received a grant from the Defense Mapping Agency for research with the National Committee for Digital Cartographic Data Standards on developing geographic information systems.
Ms. Powell’s master’s degree is from Virginia Commonwealth University in interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in economics, urban studies and planning, and public administration. Her bachelor’s degree is from Christopher Newport University where she double majored in economics and international culture and commerce, and minored in French literature.
Ms. Powell also is a graduate of the Defense Information School where her studies focused on crisis communication and public affairs.