DIDRI Director

Staff Bio

Margaret (Peggy) Honein, PhD, MPH

Division of Infectious Disease Readiness and Innovation

Margaret (Peggy) Honein, PhD, MPH, is the director of the Division of Infectious Disease Readiness & Innovation in CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.

Portrait of Margaret (Peggy) Honein, PhD, MPH
Margaret (Peggy) Honein, PhD, MPH

Role at CDC

Dr. Honein is the director of NCEZID's Division of Infectious Disease Readiness and Innovation (DIDRI).

Prior to joining DIDRI, Dr. Honein was the director of the Division of Birth Defects and Infant Disorders within the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Honein has focused the majority of her research on maternal and child health, including the impact of infections during pregnancy. She also has considerable experience in emerging infectious diseases and emergency response.


Dr. Honein has served in crucial leadership roles in numerous public health emergency responses, including those for H1N1 influenza, Zika, and COVID-19. In the Zika response, Dr. Honein co-led the Pregnancy and Birth Defects Tasks Force and was a deputy incident manager. She was responsible for developing the public health science agenda to understand the association between Zika virus infections during pregnancy and adverse outcomes, including serious birth defects.

In the COVID-19 response, Dr. Honein served in multiple leadership roles, including incident manager; principal deputy incident manager; and State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial (STLT) Support Task Force lead. In the COVID-19 response, Dr. Honein spearheaded a new approach to serving STLT partners, including establishing dedicated points of contact for each jurisdiction and creating a scientific unit to support rapid field investigations alongside health departments to gather data that directly informed updates to CDC guidance throughout the pandemic.

Dr. Honein has co-authored more than 200 publications and is the recipient of multiple awards, including a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Science and Environment) in 2018 and the CDC Director’s Award for Public Health Impact in 2021.


Dr. Honein joined CDC in 1997 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer. She received her BS degree in biology from the University of California, Riverside in 1986; her MPH from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1992; and her PhD in epidemiology from UCLA in 1995.