Al Ozonoff, PhD - April 2012
How did you first learn about disease surveillance, and when did you decide that it was an area of interest for you? I came from a public health family. When I was around 10 years old, my mother took a job with a surveillance program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; so I was exposed at a young age! After my doctoral work, I trained for two years with Professor Marcello Pagano, where I was exposed to surveillance from a biostatistical perspective.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy interacting with my colleagues and co-workers at the CRC every day, especially the fantastic team that I work with in our Core.
What excites you in the work you do? It's exciting to spend every day in support of the hospital's mission to cure childhood disease.
Who or what inspires you professionally? I draw my inspiration from my parents and their work in public health, and from all of my teachers over the years. Marcello and my graduate advisor Darren Long are special inspirations of my academic life.
How long have you been involved with ISDS? I have been involved with ISDS or its early forerunners at different levels of involvement since 2004.
Why are you an ISDS member? As Stephen Thacker wrote, I believe that surveillance is the cornerstone of public health practice. I feel that my work to support public health surveillance is the most effective way for me to make an impact on public health in this country and internationally.
What do you value most about your ISDS membership? I most value the opportunity to communicate, share ideas, and discuss important work with experts and advocates across the spectrum of public health practitioners. I believe ISDS members are among the leaders in the modern development and evolution of disease surveillance, and I am glad to be in the company of such a dedicated group.
What is the biggest issue in disease surveillance (in your opinion)? That is a great question, but also a tough one. I believe a continued challenge for the surveillance community is to make the importance of surveillance more known and understood to the larger public health community and indeed to the wider public. This is not a new challenge but it remains fundamental to the continued success of ISDS and others.
If you could meet anyone living or deceased, who would it be? John Graunt (24 April 1620 - 18 April 1674) - my surveillance hero!