Guthrie S. Birkhead, MD, MPH
Guthrie (Gus) S. Birkhead, MD, MPH, is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Public Health, University at Albany. Until 2015, Dr. Birkhead worked at the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) for 27 years in positions of increasing responsibility. From 1988 to 1995, he worked in the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control and directed the state’s Immunization Program. From 1995 to 2007 he was the director of the NYSDOH AIDS Institute, the state’s HIV/AIDS prevention and control program. From 2001 to 2007, he was also director of the NYSDOH Center for Community Health (CCH) which included the state’s communicable disease, chronic disease, maternal and child health, nutrition and local public health services programs. From 2007 until 2015 he was Deputy Commissioner and Director of the Office of Public Health, which included responsibility for the AIDS Institute, the CCH, the Center for Environmental Health and the Wadsworth Center Public Health Laboratory.
Dr. Birkhead was a member of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the U.S. Public Health Service from 2001 to 2005. From 2006 to 2011, he was a member of the HHS National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) and was chair of the NVAC from 2008 to 2011. He chaired the Vaccine Finance working group. He was the NVAC chair during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and during the period of the development of the 2010 National Vaccine Plan, the first such plan in 15 years. During his tenure, the NVAC also issued 2 reports on adult immunizations, 2 reports on vaccine safety, a report on vaccine finance, and a report on influenza vaccination of health care workers.
Dr. Birkhead is a graduate of Princeton University and the Yale University School of Medicine; he has a Masters of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. He is a graduate of the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service and Preventive Medicine Residency programs. He served on the Executive Committee of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) from 1992 to 1999 and was CSTE President in 1996-7.
Dr. Birkhead is a recipient of the 2015 ASTHO Noble J. Swearingen Award for Excellence in Public Health Administrative Management; the AMA Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service in the Category Outstanding Career Public Servant at the State Level; the 2006 CSTE Pump Handle Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Applied Epidemiology; 2005 Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars inductee; the 2003 ASTHO Excellence in Public Health Award for Significant Contributions and Outstanding Leadership in Public Health.; and the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health’s John Hume Award for Academic Excellence and Professional Promise. In 2017, he received a Doctor of Humane Letters (honorary) degree from the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He is co-author of over 140 publications in peer-reviewed journals and 8 book chapters, and has been issue editor for five journal supplement issues.