Jennifer Olsen, DrPH
Jennifer Olsen is the Executive Director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, housed at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW). In this role, she leads the organization’s evidence-driven approach to support caregivers through advocacy, education, research, and service. This role blends Jennifer’s public health skillset with a more personal passion, inspired as she has watched family members serve in the challenging role of caregiver. Before joining the RCI team, Jennifer managed the Ending Pandemics in Our Lifetimeinitiative at the Skoll Global Threats Fund – a foundation started by Jeff Skoll, the first president of eBay.
At the Skoll Global Threats Fund, Jennifer launched large initiatives in both Thailand and Tanzania, engaging communities to report and respond to emerging health threats. These efforts reduced the spread of disease amongst humans and animals, reduced the size of emerging outbreaks, and saved governments money from potential trade restrictions. She also co-created the Epihack™ process, convening 12 hackathon-style events in which 500+ technologists and public health experts from 70+ countries participated, and that produced tools utilized by national governments in 8 countries.
Prior to Jennifer’s time at Skoll Global Threats Fund, she served as Fusion Division Director in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While there, Jennifer developed an initiative to increase awareness and information sharing during emergencies, overseeing its development from concept to fully operational division. Her efforts reduced time to collect information on deployed resources from 48 hours to 2-4 hours during public health emergencies by developing a real-time dashboard of decision support data for operations centers during natural disasters, including Superstorm Sandy, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She also directed disease surveillance activities for large scale special events, including the G-8 and G-20 summits, State of the Union Addresses, the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, and Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Before that, Jennifer was a Reachback Scientist at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, where she worked on modeling and simulation analysis with a focus on epidemiological models, and she has worked on clinical trials support as a Data Manager at EMMES Corporation.
Jennifer holds a B.A. in Biomathematics from Rutgers University, an M.P.H. in Epidemiology from The George Washington University, and a D.Ph. from the University of North Carolina. Her dissertation research focused on utilizing non-traditional information sources such as social media to inform public health action. Jennifer was a 2018 TEDMED Research Scholar, where she identified and validated cutting edge presentations across health and medical fields for the TEDMED stage. She also currently serves on the advisory board for Business on Network – a technology start-up in Thailand and was previously on the National Academy of Medicine’s Forum on Microbial Threats.