Monica Schoch-Spana

Monica Schoch-Spana is a medical anthropologist, Senior Scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and a Senior Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health & Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also holds faculty positions at the Department of Anthropology at Texas State University and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). Her areas of expertise include community resilience to disaster, public engagement in policymaking, crisis and risk communication, and public health emergency preparedness.

Since 1998, Dr. Schoch-Spana has briefed federal, state, and local officials, as well as medical, public health, and public safety professionals, on critical issues in health security. National advisory roles include currently serving on the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Resilient America Roundtable of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), and the NASEM Standing Committee on Medical and Public Health Research during Large-Scale Emergency Events.

Dr. Schoch-Spana has led research, education, and advocacy efforts to encourage authorities to enlist the public’s contributions in epidemic and disaster management. Her studies have been influential in debunking myths about mass behaviors in the context of bioterrorism, reframing the management of catastrophic health events to include social and ethical-moral dimensions, and persuading leaders to share governance dilemmas with the public including how to allocate scarce medical resources in a disaster. She has chaired national working groups to produce peer-reviewed, evidence-based consensus guidance for authorities on how to partner with citizens and civil society in relation to bioterrorism response, influenza pandemic planning, and nuclear incident preparedness, and she has organized 3 national meetings on how to strengthen community resilience to extreme health events.

From 2003 to 2017, Dr. Schoch-Spana worked at the UPMC Center for Health Security; prior to that she worked at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, starting in 1998. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from Johns Hopkins University (1998) and a BA from Bryn Mawr College (1986).