Nancy Messonnier, MD, CAPT, USPHS
Dr. Nancy Messonnier (CAPT, USPHS) is Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). Since beginning her public health career in 1995 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer in 1995 in the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID), Dr. Messonnier has held a number of leadership posts across CDC and within NCIRD. She served as Deputy Director for NCIRD from October 2014 through March 2016 and led the Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch in NCIRD's Division of Bacterial Diseases since its formation in 2007 through 2012. She has also served as Interim Director of the Advanced Molecular Detection Implementation team in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (NCEZID), Acting Deputy Director of the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services (CSELS), Acting Director of the Division of Global Health Protection in the Center for Global Health, and Chief of the Meningitis and Special Pathogens Branch in NCID. She brings strong management and leadership skills, commitment to staff mentoring and development, and a passion for immunization and infectious disease prevention.
Dr. Messonnier has provided critical leadership to CDC's cross-cutting laboratory, global health, and surveillance initiatives. She played a pivotal role in the successful public-private partnership to develop and implement a low cost vaccine to prevent epidemic meningococcal meningitis in Africa. More than 150 million people in the African Meningitis Belt have been vaccinated with MenAfriVac since 2010, with remarkable impact. Dr. Messonnier also has been a leader in CDC's preparedness and response to anthrax, serving on response teams in Florida and Washington DC during the 2001 intentional anthrax release and leading the post-exposure antibiotic and vaccine prophylaxis evaluation. She also served in leadership roles evaluating simplified schedules for use of licensed anthrax vaccine. Dr. Messonnier has been a champion for prevention and control of bacterial meningitis in the United States—from drafting the initial recommendations for meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine use in those heading for college, to the introduction of meningococcal conjugate vaccines for routine use in teens. She also oversaw a family of studies exploring resurgence of pertussis in the United States and characterizing post-licensure effectiveness of acellular pertussis vaccines.
Dr. Messonnier has written more than 140 articles and chapters and has received numerous awards, including, in 2011, NCIRD's Philip Horne Award for unparalleled scientific contributions, exceptional mentorship, and staff development as well as the 2009 Federal Executive Board's Excellence in Action Outstanding Team award for the Anthrax Vaccine Research Program.
Dr. Messonnier received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MD from the University of Chicago School of Medicine. She completed internal medicine residency training at the University of Pennsylvania.