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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Biography: Maria Julia Marinissen, Ph.D.,

Divisions of International Health Security
Office of Policy and Planning
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


​Dr. Maria Julia Marinissen is the Director of the Division of International Health Security in the Office of Policy and Planning in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She actively participates in White House National Security Council Interagency Policy Committees on global health security and leads HHS and ASPR participation in bilateral and multilateral partnerships focused on strengthening public health emergency preparedness and response programs, policies, and initiatives. She is the U.S. Liaison to the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI), a Ministerial-level effort of the G7 countries, Mexico, the European Commission and the World Health Organization (WHO). She was founder and chaired the North American Health Security Working Group, which developed North American Plan for Animal and Pandemic Influenza launched by the Leaders of the United States, Mexico, and Canada in 2012.

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Her Division serves as an advisor to the HHS Secretary and the ASPR on international preparedness and response matters, coordinates international communication with health authorities and organization during public health emergencies, as well as leads the development and implementation of policy frameworks for international assistance with laboratory samples, medical countermeasures, and emergency medical personnel. She co-led the U.S. donation of antivirals and vaccines during H1N1 (2009) Pandemic to WHO and partner countries and served as a policy coordinator for the HHS Disaster Leadership Group during the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant event and the MERS-Coronavirus Outbreak in the Middle East. Dr. Marinissen supervises the policy management of the U.S. International Health Regulations (IHR) National Focal Point (NFP), which also monitors IHR implementation in the United States. In 2016 and on behalf of the U.G. Government, her team led the self-assessment of U.S. capacities and coordination of the U.S. IHR Joint External Evaluation. Additionally, she oversees capacity building programs for surveillance, early-warning infectious-disease surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, emergency communications, and IHR NFP strengthening in partner countries across the world.

In 2006, she joined the ASPR/Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where she developed requirements and contributed to operational planning for development, Acquisition, and distribution of medical countermeasures for biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. She has graduated from the Annenberg Leadership Institute in 2009 and the Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative in 2014.

Prior to her career in policy, Dr. Marinissen received in 2004 the prestigious “Ramon y Cajal” award from the Spanish Ministry of Science and led a research group at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. She served as a Fellow and Senior Research Associate at the National Institutes of Health in (1997-2003). She completed her Ph.D. and Masters Degree in Biology at the Universidad Nacional del Sur in Bahia Blanca, Argentina, where she also held teaching positions in General Biology and Animal Physiology. Dr. Marinissen served for three years as a U.S. Marine Corps Attaché Spouse at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain.

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  • This page last reviewed: August 21, 2017