Shawna L. Mercer, M.Sc., Ph.D.
Chief – Community Guide Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Director – Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide)
Shawna Mercer is Chief of the Community Guide Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Director of the Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide)—one of the pre-eminent sources of evidence-based recommendations about effective public health programs, services, and policies. Dr. Mercer previously worked in both the United States and Canada as a researcher, evaluator, and practitioner—including in CDC’s Office of the Chief Science Officer, Public Health Practice Program Office, and Office on Smoking and Health, as well as at the University of Toronto and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her passionate commitment to bridging the worlds of research, policy, practice, and evaluation was forged in the mid 1980s when she served as the Evaluation Coordinator for one of the first breast cancer screening programs in the world. The Program struggled mightily to meet its mandate to produce similar results to the well-funded and highly controlled research that formed the basis of the evidence. Dr. Mercer’s current work focuses on jointly engaging policy makers, practitioners, researchers, and evaluators in building an evidence base that is relevant to real-world needs; and in supporting decision makers in selecting, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based approaches that fit their needs. Dr. Mercer has a Master’s degree in health behavior from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada and a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Toronto.