Elizabeth Cameron

Fast Facts

  • Professor, Brown University School of Public Health
  • Former special assistant to President Biden for global health security and biodefense
  • Senior advisor for global health security, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Expertise in preventing, detecting, and rapidly responding to biological crises; global COVID-19 response; biological weapons; biosafety and security

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • Domestic Affairs
  • Health
  • Science and Technology

Elizabeth Cameron is a global leader in health security and biodefense. She is a professor at the Brown University School of Public Health and a senior advisor for global health security at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Previously, Cameron spent two tours over five years on the National Security Council (NSC) staff, where she twice helped establish and direct the NSC Directorate on Global Health Security and Biodefense and the White House Office for Preparedness and Response to Emerging Biological Threats. In this role, she built and led a robust team focused preventing, detecting, and rapidly responding to biological crises.

In January 2021, Cameron was appointed by President Biden as the special assistant to the president for global health security and biodefense, a post she also held as a civil servant in the Obama Administration. Cameron led coordination for the U.S. government’s global COVID-19 response and other major disease outbreaks. She was responsible for coordinating execution for the Global COVID-19 summits and she oversaw the development of policy, strategy, and financing for national and global preparedness for outbreaks and biological attacks. She also has been a driving force in developing new multilateral mechanisms focused on health security, including the recent consensus to establish an international fund for pandemic preparedness and health security and the launch of the Global Health Security Agenda.

Cameron has held senior posts at the Departments of State and Defense, where she created and oversaw programs to improve biological and chemical security. She facilitated the expansion of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and the multilateral G7 Global Partnership to combat biological threats, facilitate multi-agency approaches to outbreak preparedness, and thwart the development and use of biological weapons. Outside of government, she was the architect of NTI | bio, a program of the Nuclear Threat Initiative aimed at countering biological catastrophes. There, she and her team launched initiatives to reduce biological risks associated with biotechnology development, improve biosafety and biosecurity, and develop best practices for COVID-19 response. She was a key partner in the creation of the first Global Health Security Index.

Early in her career, Cameron served as an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow in the health policy office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, where she worked on the Patients’ Bill of Rights, medical privacy, and legislation to improve the quality of cancer care. From 2001‐2003, she served as a manager of policy research for the American Cancer Society.

Cameron holds a PhD in biology from the Human Genetics and Molecular Biology Program at the Johns Hopkins University and a BA in biology from the University of Virginia. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.