Photo of cow in pen

Parker named Interim Director of the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases

August 3, 2015

Gerald Parker, D.V.M., Ph.D., M.S., vice president for public health preparedness and response at the Texas A&M Health Science Center, has been named Interim Director of the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Center of Excellence, effective August 1, 2015.

“Emerging, reemerging, and transboundary infectious diseases are the new normal,” Parker said. “Most of these diseases emerge from animals and can have significant economic, health, societal, and political impacts. IIAD has become a critical partner for many stakeholders in government, industry and academia in protecting animal health and homeland security.  I look forward to building on that success and enhancing multidisciplinary collaborations to promote global health security for animal health and public health, as well as our own well-being.”

Founded in April 2004 and headquartered at Texas A&M University, the Institute focuses on research, education and outreach to prevent, detect, mitigate and recover from transboundary, emerging and/or zoonotic diseases, which may be introduced intentionally or through natural processes

“DHS looks forward to continuing to work with Texas A&M University and its DHS Center of Excellence, The Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, to support the cutting edge research and technologies needed to protect the Nation’s animal agriculture sector,” said Matthew Clark, Ph.D., DHS Office of University Programs director.

As Interim Director, Parker will provide leadership, strategic vision, and oversight for the Institute’s theme leaders, principal investigators, projects, and staff. The Institute executes a multi-million dollar research portfolio aimed to promote global animal and public health through research and development targeted at transboundary, emerging and zoonotic diseases. The Institute’s network leverages the resources of multiple major universities, Minority Serving Institutions, international collaborators, state and government officials, and private industry partners.

“We are delighted that Dr. Parker has agreed to serve as Interim IIAD Director,” said Craig Nessler, Ph.D., Director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research. “His considerable knowledge and experience with zoonotic diseases ensures that the institute will continue to serve as a major resource for research and education in this critical arena.”

Previously, Parker served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense and was responsible for program oversight throughout the Department of Defense and integration with interagency and international partners.

Parker also served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), a position he assumed in 2005. In this role, Parker provided leadership in coordinating DHHS-wide efforts with respect to preparedness for and response to public health and medical emergencies, and served as a focal point for operational and policy coordination with the White House, other federal departments, Congress, state and local officials, private sector leaders, and international authorities responsible for emergency medical preparedness and the protection of the civilian population from acts of terrorism and other public health emergencies. Parker also served at DHS from April 2004 to July 2005 and was a 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award, the highest annual recognition for senior executive service personnel.

Parker has 26 years of distinguished active U.S. Army service, serving multiple roles including: Assistant Deputy for Research and Development, Director for the Medical Chemical and Biological Defense Research Program, and Deputy Director for the Combat Casualty Research Program at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. He is a former Commander and Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Parker graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Medicine in 1976 and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine the following year. He holds a Doctorate in Physiology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and a Master of Science in Resourcing the National Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

— Holly Shive

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