Nancy Messonnier, MD, is the incoming dean of the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health (effective September 1). She has been named the Bryson Distinguished Professor in Public Health and brings to Carolina more than 25 years of experience as a public health leader.
She also has served in influential roles at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and, most recently, as the executive director for Pandemic Prevention and Health Systems at the Skoll Foundation.
Dr. Messonnier began her public health career in 1995 at the CDC as an epidemic intelligence officer and went on to hold a number of posts within the organization, including first as deputy director and then as director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) from 2014-2021.
Her many accomplishments include leadership roles in developing and implementing a low-cost vaccine to prevent epidemic meningitis in Africa; in responding to the 2001 anthrax attacks; and in promoting vaccine confidence and addressing disparities in immunization coverage.
Dr. Messonnier led the CDC’s NCIRD response to what began as an unknown respiratory disease in China in late 2019 and evolved into the COVID-19 pandemic. She served as the CDC’s chief architect of the COVID-19 vaccine implementation program and helped to develop, evaluate and distribute vaccines across the United States.
While at the Skoll Foundation — a private foundation that invests in social entrepreneurs and other innovators who advance solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems — Dr. Messonnier helped lead efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic and build a global response and preparedness system to prevent future pandemics.
She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Chicago School of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency training at the University of Pennsylvania.