Jennifer Olsen, DrPH
Jennifer Olsen is the recently named Executive Director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW). In this role, she leads the organization’s evidence-driven approach to supporting caregivers through advocacy, education, research, and service. For Jennifer, this role blends her public health skillset with a more personal passion, 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.
In this role, she 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 US Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, Jennifer developed an initiative to increase awareness and information sharing during emergencies, overseeing 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 center 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, a 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 (like social media) to inform public health action. Jennifer is a 2018 TEDMED Research Scholar, and is involved in identifying and validating 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 Microbial Threats to Health Forum (2015-2017).