Center for Preparedness and Response (CPR)

Nancy Messonnier, MD (CAPT, USPHS, RET)

Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR)

Nancy Messonnier, MD, is the Acting Director of the Center for Preparedness and Response. Since beginning her public health career in 1995 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer assigned to the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Messonnier has held a number of leadership posts across CDC. Her permanent position is Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), where she also served as Deputy Director from October 2014 through March 2016. She also led the Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch in NCIRD’s Division of Bacterial Diseases since its formation in 2007 through 2012.

Dr. Messonnier has provided critical leadership to CDC’s cross-cutting laboratory, global health, and surveillance initiatives. Dr. Messonnier has been a champion for prevention and control of bacterial meningitis in the United States—from drafting the initial recommendations for meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine use in those heading for college, to the introduction of meningococcal conjugate vaccines for routine use in teens. She also oversaw a family of studies exploring resurgence of pertussis in the United States and characterizing post-licensure effectiveness of acellular pertussis vaccines. She played a pivotal role in the successful public-private partnership to develop and implement a low cost vaccine to prevent epidemic meningococcal meningitis in Africa. More than 150 million people in the African Meningitis Belt have been vaccinated with MenAfriVac since 2010, with remarkable impact. Dr. Messonnier also has been a leader in CDC’s preparedness and response to anthrax, including during the 2001 intentional anthrax release and in evaluating simplified schedules for use of licensed anthrax vaccine.

Dr. Messonnier has written more than 140 articles and chapters and has received numerous awards, including the 2011 NCIRD Philip Horne Award for unparalleled scientific contributions, exceptional mentorship, and staff development as well as the 2009 Federal Executive Board’s Excellence in Action Outstanding Team award for the Anthrax Vaccine Research Program. Dr. Messonnier received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MD from the University of Chicago, School of Medicine. She completed internal medicine residency training at the University of Pennsylvania.

Page last reviewed: April 1, 2019