Health Initiative/

Dr. Rick Bright

CEO, Pandemic Prevention Institute & Senior Vice President, Pandemic Prevention & ResponseHealth Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation

Dr. Rick Bright is joining The Rockefeller Foundation as Senior Vice President of Pandemic Prevention and Response to lead the development of the Foundation’s pandemic data and action platform that will prevent future pandemics by identifying and responding to the earliest alerts of a disease outbreak and stopping it in the first 100 days. Bright has extensive experience in global public health, working with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PATH and the private sector making key advancements in vaccine and therapeutic developments for influenza viruses with pandemic potential and new vaccine, treatment and testing technologies.

  • For several decades Bright has been instrumental on the frontlines of work to address international response plans and innovation to address emerging infectious diseases.
  • He has served as a key advisor in a number of roles, including in the development of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the WHO Research and Development Blueprint for Action to Prevent Epidemics, the WHO Global Action Plan for Influenza vaccines, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine Forum on Microbial Threats.
  • He led and coordinated the U.S. and global medical countermeasure development for the 2014 MERS outbreak (another coronavirus) and served as Incident Commander for medical countermeasure response against the Zika virus in 2016.

Most recently Bright served the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Director of the esteemed Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).  Bright resigned from government service in protest over the Trump administration’s approach to handling the Covid-19 pandemic, specifically over the level of political interference over science and the spread of inaccurate information that he said was ‘dangerous, reckless and causing lives to be lost’.

Authored Content

  • Feb 16 2022
    Blueprint Tracking SARS-CoV-2 and Its Variants in Wastewater: An Old Technique Is Yielding Powerful New Insights in the Covid-19 Pandemic The newest addition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Covid Data Tracker reports on levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater. While researchers, public health departments, and some private companies have been monitoring wastewater since the beginning of the pandemic, this tracker marks an important step in the establishment of the National Wastewater Surveillance System […] Dave Luo, Dr. Rick Bright, Jacqueline Houtman, Jessica Malaty Rivera, Jonathan Gilmour, Lindsey Shultz, Megan Diamond
  • Jan 31 2022
    Blog Post To Get to a ‘New Normal,’ Public Health Must Focus on All Respiratory Viruses Much of the response to Covid-19 to date has been reactionary. Travel restrictions were implemented after a new variant had already breached the country. The use of higher-quality masks was recommended months after the emergence of increasingly more infectious variants — Alpha, Delta, then Omicron — and well after shortages had subsided. The need to ramp […] Céline Gounder, Dr. Rick Bright
  • Jan 28 2022
    Blog Post How We Can Spot the Next Covid-19 Variant Even Faster In Durban, South Africa, scientists led by Dr. Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI) at Stellenbosch University, were conducting routine genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 from different regions when they noticed worrying variations in genomes clustered in Gauteng Province. They alerted their colleagues around the country and within their research […] Dr. Rick Bright
  • Dec 28 2021
    Field Note Vaccine Inequity Increases the Risk of New SARS-CoV-2 Variants Emerging Robust genomic surveillance, along with transparency, communication, and global collaboration, is needed to detect and control emerging variants. To control the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) called on member states to meet a goal of vaccinating 40% of their population by the end of 2021. As of mid December 2021, over 8.6 billion […] Dave Luo, Dr. Rick Bright, Emily Bass, Jacqueline Houtman, Jessica Malaty Rivera, Jonathan Gilmour, Lindsey Shultz
  • Dec 01 2021
    Blog Post Genomic Surveillance Is Essential To Track Covid-19 Variants in Both Unvaccinated and Vaccinated Populations Technological advancements have made sequencing quicker and more affordable, but collaboration, outreach, and trust are needed to achieve representative samples from underserved populations. The course of the Covid-19 pandemic depends not only on how the SARS-CoV-2 virus changes, but on how communities respond to it. Public health officials can only make decisions to protect their […] Dr. Rick Bright, Emily Bass, Jacqueline Houtman, Jessica Malaty Rivera, Lindsey Shultz, Rebecca Glassman
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