Parker appointed to FEMA National Advisory Council
Gerald Parker, D.V.M., Ph.D., vice president for public health preparedness and response at Texas A&M Health Science Center, was recently appointed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Advisory Council (NAC).
Founded as part of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, the NAC ensures effective and continuous coordination of federal preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation for natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other manmade disasters. Comprised of 34 current members from state, local and tribal governments as well as public and private sectors in order to provide diverse experiences and perspectives, the NAC advises the FEMA Administrator on all aspects of emergency management.
“This is a unique opportunity to work with emergency management leaders from across the United States in our service to FEMA and the nation,” Parker said. “One thing that I have clearly learned over the last decade is that emergency preparedness is very dynamic requiring constant new thinking, and above all, disaster response is a team sport demanding effective coordination, integration and collaboration at all levels. I look forward to bringing to the table challenges observed and lessons learned from Texas, as well as my past experience at the federal level to enhance our nation’s preparedness, response and resiliency efforts.”
Parker is a 35-year veteran of federal public service, including 9 years as a senior executive with the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and 26 years active duty in the Army Medical Department. Prior to joining the Texas A&M Health Science Center, Parker was the DOD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Chemical and Biological Defense from 2010 to 2013, where he was responsible for developing national strategies and capabilities to protect United States service members from emerging infectious disease and biological and chemical threats. Prior to that, he was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS from 2005 to 2010. During his tenure at HHS, Parker helped lead and coordinate new federal medical and public health preparedness initiatives, as well as emergency responses to natural disasters ranging from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma to Gustov and Ike, as well as the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the Haiti earthquake. His military leadership includes command of the Unities States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and Assistant Deputy for all Army medical research and development programs and laboratories at the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. Parker now heads public health preparedness and response initiatives at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. He also serves as principal investigator for the Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing.
Parker holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, a doctorate in physiology from Baylor College of Medicine and a Master of Science in resourcing the national strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He is a recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Civilian Meritorious Service.
Out of more than 200 applicants, the 12 new members of the FEMA NAC were selected through an intensive review process, which required an interagency recommendation panel of senior government officials. Parker was appointed to the NAC on July 28, 2014, and he will serve a 3-year term.