Nancy Knight, MD

Chief Science and Programs Officer

Nancy Knight, MD, joins The Task Force for Global Health on April 29, 2024, as the Chief Science and Programs Officer. She recently retired from the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps as a Rear Admiral, Lower Half, and Assistant Surgeon General after a distinguished 22-year career.

Dr. Knight began her career in the USPHS in 2001. From 2001-2003 in Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Division of Medicine and Dentistry she served in various roles including as Branch Chief then Acting Deputy Division Director, focusing on enhancing primary care medical education in the United States. Dr. Knight then became a Ready Responder in HRSA’s National Health Service Corps. As a Ready Responder from 2003-2006 she was stationed in the City of Cincinnati Health Department where she provided primary healthcare services to an underserved community and represented the health department in disaster response planning and coordination.

In 2006, Dr. Knight transitioned to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she spent over a decade stationed overseas addressing HIV, TB, and other public health threats, and strengthening countries’ public health and healthcare service delivery systems. She held leadership positions across three countries including CDC Associate Director for Clinical Programs for PEPFAR in Nigeria, CDC Country Director in Nigeria, Program Director for CDC’s Division of Global HIV and TB in Kenya, and CDC Country Director in South Africa.

In 2017, Dr. Knight became the Director of CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection, leading a global team focused on building health security systems and addressing critical health threats. In 2022, she transitioned to the Office of the Director for CDC’s Global Health Center where she continued her focus on health security. As Director for Emerging Biological Threats during a one-year assignment in the National Security Council she guided interagency coordination and shaped U.S. policies on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. Most recently, she served as the Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) and the Surgeon General in the Department of Health and Human Services, focusing on developing an actionable framework to advance USPHS Commissioned Corps’ goals and align Corps achievements with the U.S. National Biodefense Strategy.

Throughout her career, Dr. Knight participated and held leadership roles in numerous deployments, both domestically and abroad, including hurricane responses, the West Africa Ebola outbreak, COVID-19, and Operation Allies Welcome.

Dr. Knight holds a BA in Biology and Psychology from Washington University, an MD from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, and completed her residency training in Family Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, where she also served as Chief Resident. Prior to medical school, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho. She enjoys traveling, running, and spending time with her husband, Kirk, and their dog, Loki.

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