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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Sarah Park, M.D.

National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters Board Member

Dr. Park is the Hawaii State Epidemiologist and Chief of the Disease Outbreak Control Division.  She directs all activities related to emerging infections, disease surveillance and investigations (including Hawaii’s response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic), immunizations, and public health preparedness.  A major endeavor Dr. Park oversees related to the last two areas is Hawaii’s Stop Flu at School program—the only statewide school-located flu vaccination program, through which approximately 70,000 public and private school children in grades K–8 (~45% of children ages 5–13 years) are vaccinated against influenza each fall.  This highly successful program has contributed to Hawaii having the highest influenza vaccination coverage among children in the nation and served to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders and provide routine practice to implement a mass vaccination campaign—a critical capability that benefitted Hawaii during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.  In 2010–2011, Dr. Park chaired and mediated a task force, comprising key pharmacists and pharmacy representatives Photograph of Sarah Park, M.D.  State Epidemiologist and Chief Disease Outbreak Control Division Hawaii Department of Health

and an American Academy of Pediatrics, Hawaii Chapter physician representative, to examine the issue of pharmacists vaccinating minors.  Hawaii’s law allowed pharmacists to only vaccinate persons ages 18 years and older.  During the pandemic, adolescents ages 14–17 years, had no other option for receiving vaccination except from their primary physician.  The task force produced a legislative bill that was passed into statute to allow trained pharmacists to administer influenza vaccine to adolescents ages 14–17 years with a prescription from their primary physician and record that vaccination in the Hawaii Immunization Registry, thereby addressing concerns of all parties and increasing vaccination options for adolescents.

 In addition, Dr. Park has served on national working groups and committees on various public health preparedness and response capacity issues such as a nurse triage line during a pandemic as well as specific pediatric issues such as guidelines for utilizing anthrax vaccines or smallpox vaccines during potential bioterrorism events.  Dr. Park has served as the Region IX/X representative on the Association of State & Territorial Health Officials Directors of Public Health Preparedness Executive Committee from 2010–2012 and was appointed in January 2012 as a voting member to the National Biodefense Science Board, which provides expert advice and guidance on preventing, preparing for, and responding to adverse health effects of public health emergencies to the US Health & Human Services Secretary and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.


Dr. Park is a former Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she focused on bacterial respiratory diseases but was involved also in investigations and response efforts for West Nile Virus, methicillin resistant and vancomycin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and SARS.  She has worked in Kenya as a World Health Organization/CDC representative toward polio elimination and vaccine preventable disease surveillance as well as in Tanzania toward evaluating and improving that country’s influenza surveillance program.

Dr. Park completed her undergraduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her medical education at the Boston University School of Medicine, her pediatrics residency at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, and her pediatric infectious diseases fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco, where her research focused on the molecular pathogenesis of Bartonella, the agent of Cat Scratch Disease and bacillary angiomatosis.  She is board certified in both pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases and occasionally attends as a consult physician on the pediatric infectious diseases inpatient service at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children in Honolulu, HI.  Dr. Park has given invited lectures on a myriad of infectious disease and public health preparedness and emergency response related topics both locally throughout the state of Hawaii and nationally.

National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters (NACCD)

  • This page last reviewed: September 23, 2014