I am a historian and author of several books, including "The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history", a study of the 1918 pandemic, which the National Academies of Science named outstanding book of the year on science or medicine in 2004. My earlier book "Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America", won the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians for the year’s best book of American history and in 2005 the New York Public Library named it one of the 50 best books in the preceding 50 years.
I have served on the US government's Infectious Disease Board of Experts and was a member of the original team that developed plans for mitigating a pandemic by using "non-pharmaceutical interventions"-- i.e., public health measures to take before a vaccine becomes available. I have served as an advisor to both the Bush and Obama administrations on influenza preparedness and response, and continue to be active in this area. I have also worked with state, federal, United Nations, and World Health Organization officials on influenza, water-related disasters, and risk communication.