Health Initiative/

Dr. Rick Bright

CEO, Pandemic Prevention Institute & Senior Vice President, Pandemic Prevention & Response, Health Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation

Dr. Rick Bright is joining The Rockefeller Foundation as Senior Vice President of Pandemic Prevention and Response to lead the development of the Foundation’s pandemic data and action platform that will prevent future pandemics by identifying and responding to the earliest alerts of a disease outbreak and stopping it in the first 100 days. Bright has extensive experience in global public health, working with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PATH and the private sector making key advancements in vaccine and therapeutic developments for influenza viruses with pandemic potential and new vaccine, treatment and testing technologies.

  • For several decades Bright has been instrumental on the frontlines of work to address international response plans and innovation to address emerging infectious diseases.
  • He has served as a key advisor in a number of roles, including in the development of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the WHO Research and Development Blueprint for Action to Prevent Epidemics, the WHO Global Action Plan for Influenza vaccines, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine Forum on Microbial Threats.
  • He led and coordinated the U.S. and global medical countermeasure development for the 2014 MERS outbreak (another coronavirus) and served as Incident Commander for medical countermeasure response against the Zika virus in 2016.

Most recently Bright served the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Director of the esteemed Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).  Bright resigned from government service in protest over the Trump administration’s approach to handling the Covid-19 pandemic, specifically over the level of political interference over science and the spread of inaccurate information that he said was ‘dangerous, reckless and causing lives to be lost’.

Authored Content

  • Dec 28 2021
    Field Note Vaccine Inequity Increases the Risk of New SARS-CoV-2 Variants Emerging Robust genomic surveillance, along with transparency, communication, and global collaboration, is needed to detect and control emerging variants. To control the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) called on member states to meet a goal of vaccinating 40% of their population by the end of 2021. As of mid December 2021, over 8.6 billion […] Dave Luo, Dr. Rick Bright, Emily Bass, Jacqueline Houtman, Jessica Malaty Rivera, Jonathan Gilmour, Lindsey Shultz
  • Dec 01 2021
    Blog Post Genomic Surveillance Is Essential To Track Covid-19 Variants in Both Unvaccinated and Vaccinated Populations Technological advancements have made sequencing quicker and more affordable, but collaboration, outreach, and trust are needed to achieve representative samples from underserved populations. The course of the Covid-19 pandemic depends not only on how the SARS-CoV-2 virus changes, but on how communities respond to it. Public health officials can only make decisions to protect their […] Dr. Rick Bright, Emily Bass, Jacqueline Houtman, Jessica Malaty Rivera, Lindsey Shultz, Rebecca Glassman
  • Nov 09 2021
    Blog Post The Critical Challenge of Tracking Breakthrough Infections, and Why We Still Need Better Data Standards Despite ample vaccine supplies, outbreaks among unvaccinated populations in the US and the appearance of the Delta variant promote infection in fully vaccinated individuals. These breakthrough infections must be carefully tracked. As the percentage of Americans considered fully vaccinated reached 58 percent, and Covid-19-related deaths surpassed three quarters of a million, concerns over breakthrough infections […] Dr. Rick Bright, Emily Bass, Jacqueline Houtman, Jessica Malaty Rivera, Lindsey Shultz, Rebecca Glassman
  • Nov 03 2021
    Blog Post A Global Early Warning System That Works for All Is Possible “Is it even possible? What will it take?” Every day I hear variations on these questions from scientists, government officials, media, and concerned citizens from every walk of life. Each of them wants to know, as Covid-19 surges and the threat of new variants remains, whether it is possible to create and coordinate a global […] Dr. Rick Bright
  • Oct 25 2021
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    Health Creating a Pandemic-Free Future How can we stop diseases from becoming pandemics? In this video, Dr. Rick Bright shares three things that hold the key to early pandemic response. The Rockefeller Foundation is providing up to USD150 million in funding to the Pandemic Prevention Institute (PPI), a collaborative organization with a global network of partners committed to building data […]
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