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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Biography: Jessica Fantinato

Deputy Director, Office of Emergency Management
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services


Jessica Fantinato serves as the Deputy Director of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) under the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this capacity, she assists in the oversight of the federal government’s primary planning and response arm for public health and medical emergency support, known as Emergency Support Function # 8 of the National Response Framework. OEM manages the HHS Continuity of Operations Program, the 24/7 Secretary’s Operations Center, the Regional Emergency Coordinator Group, the National Disaster Medical System, the Hospital Preparedness Program and the Department’s leadership of the Public Health and Medical Services Sector of the Homeland Security’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Program, and health and human services recovery functions as they apply to Presidential Preparedness Directive 8 (PPD8). Picture of Jessica Fontinato


Prior to becoming the Deputy Director of OEM, Jessica was the Director of the Resilience and Infrastructure Coordination Division within HHS-ASPR-OEM.  She was responsible for the oversight and management of the Department’s Continuity of Operations (COOP) and Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) programs.  In that role, she played an integral part in HHS’ preparedness for any disruptions to the mission essential functions of the Department’s 17 Staff Divisions and 10 Operating Divisions.

Her position before that was the Department’s COOP Program Manager, where she was responsible for ensuring Department compliance with numerous Federal Directives, such as National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 51/Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 20.

Prior to joining HHS, Jessica was Chief of the Homeland Security Division and acting Chief of the COOP Division within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination.  In these positions, she was responsible for ensuring and coordinating USDA’s compliance with multiple HSPDs.

From August 2009 through September 2010, Jessica was the Director of Continuity Policy on the White House National Security Staff (NSS). While working for NSS, she coordinated the implementation of NSPD-51/HSPD-20 across the Executive, Judicial and Legislative Branches. Prior to her detail at the White House, Jessica was the Deputy Director of the USDA Office of Homeland Security and held a variety of positions with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), to include Assistant to the APHIS Administrator and Staff Officer on the USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services (WS) Operational Support Staff.

She began her Federal career as a wildlife biologist, working in the New Jersey, Virginia, and Utah WS programs.

She holds a Bachelors’ degree in Biological Basis of Behavior and a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology, both from the University of Pennsylvania.

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  • This page last reviewed: March 22, 2016