Walt Orenstein, MD

Voting Board Member


Walter A. Orenstein, MD, is a Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, Global Health, and Pediatrics, as well as Associate Director of the Emory Vaccine Center and Director of the Emory Program on Vaccine Policy and Development having returned to Emory University in October 2011.  From 2008 through 2011, Dr. Orenstein was Deputy Director for Immunization Programs in the Vaccine Delivery department of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His primary focus at the foundation had been on polio eradication, measles control, and improving routine immunization programs.   Between 2004 and 2008, he held the same positions as his current Emory appointments as well as other responsibilities.  Prior to 2004, Dr. Orenstein worked for 26 years in the Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  From 1988-2004, he was the Director of the United States Immunization Program.  He is a former Assistant Surgeon General of the USPHS. Dr. Orenstein successfully developed, promoted, facilitated and expanded new vaccination strategies to enhance disease prevention.

Dr. Orenstein has authored and co-authored numerous books, journals and reviews. Along with Stanley Plotkin, MD, Paul Offit, MD, and Kathryn Edwards, MD, Dr. Orenstein co-edited Plotkin’s Vaccines, 7th edition in 2018 – the leading textbook in the field. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. In 2006, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine (as of July 1, 2016, now called the National Academy of Medicine).  He is a past Chair of the WHO’s Poliomyelitis Technical Consultative Group.  He served as the Chair of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) under the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 2011 to 2016.  He is also currently a member of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization Polio Working Group as well as Measles and Rubella Working Group. On July 1, 2016, Dr. Orenstein became the President of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) for two years.  In February 2018, he will be inducted as a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dr. Orenstein received his Bachelor of Science at The City College of New York in 1968, and his degree in Medicine from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1972. He completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, followed by a fellowship in infectious diseases at the University of Southern California Medical School. Dr. Orenstein also completed a residency in preventive medicine at the CDC.  In 2006, he received an honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Wake Forest University.

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