Debbie Dowell, MD, MPH

Debbie Dowell

Chief Medical Officer, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control


Areas of Expertise

  • Opioid Overdose Prevention
  • Opioid Prescribing

Debbie Dowell, MD, MPH is Chief Medical Officer for the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and leads CDC’s Opioid Response Coordination Unit (ORCU). In this role, she leads development of agency-wide strategy to prevent opioid overdose and other opioid-related harms and oversees coordination of opioid-related efforts and messaging across the agency. She previously served as advisor to New York City’s Health Commissioner, led CDC’s Prescription Drug Overdose Team, and served as Chief Medical Officer for CDC’s Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention.

Dr. Dowell completed residency and chief residency in Primary Care Internal Medicine at Bellevue Hospital Center and the NYU School of Medicine, where she later joined the faculty as a clinical assistant professor. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and served as an attending physician providing care and supervising residents at a community health center in New York City.

Dr. Dowell has conducted research on quality and safety in medical care, on the effects of clinical guidelines, on the impact of opioid overdose on life expectancy in the United States, and on the effectiveness of interventions to prevent opioid overdose. She was the lead author of the 2016 CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. She received her BA and MD from Columbia University and her MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and she is a graduate of CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS).