National Security Health Policy
The first to identify SARS in the Western world and Medical Director of the Center for Health Policy & Preparedness
Dr. Steve Cunnion, a retired Captain in the US Navy Medical Corps, is the Medical Director of the Center for Health Policy & Preparedness. He is also President of International Consultants in Health, Inc., a partner in Diogenec Group and one of the founders of iJet.com, a risk assessment and management company. He holds an adjutant professorship in the Department of Epidemiology & Biometrics at the Uniformed Services University (USU).
With over thirty years involvement in infectious disease and environmental investigations, Dr. Cunnion has appeared on, among others; CNN, the Discovery Channel, the Canada Broadcasting Corporation, and the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. He has been interviewed by most of the major international news services, including Reuters, the Asian Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Cox Newspapers, the Kyodo News Service, CBS (Bangkok) and ABC News (Bangkok), along with numerous independent and local reporters. He has been interviewed and the subject of news articles in the New York Times, The Journal of the American Medical Association, U.S. Medicine, Navy Medicine and various other military publications.
His first exposure to the media was as a junior medical officer investigating disease outbreaks and supervising various disasters in the Pacific/Indian Ocean Theater between 1979 and 1984. As a Commander, Dr. Cunnion was asked to be the physician/scientist for the Joint Department of State/ Department of Defense Chemical Biological Warfare Team in Southeast and South Asia from 1984 to 1987. In this position, he was contacted almost on daily basis by major news networks on the politically sensitive topic of chemical warfare investigations along both the Thai and Pakistan border areas.
In 1995, while teaching outbreak investigation at the USU, Dr. Cunnion was the first physician to diagnosis an unusual thallium poisoning case in China, via the Internet, a first for China at that time (JAMA, Vol 274 (#22), p1750). This event led to numerous press interviews.
In 2001 as a civilian, Dr. Cunnion was invited to assist the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the anthrax crisis. He was assigned to provide medical aid to workers at the Hamilton, New Jersey, postal facility. In addition to directing the research protocol regarding the administration of antibiotics and vaccinations, Dr. Cunnion furnished the necessary risk communication by holding “question and answer” sessions to explain the risk and health issues involved with possible exposure and the use of the protective methods offered.
In February 2003, he was the first person to alert the Western world of the disease outbreak soon to be called SARS (Brooks, T, Behind the Mask; How the World Survived SARS. American Public Health Association, Washington, DC, 2005, p11). For this achievement, he received the 2003 ProMED Reporting Award and was interviewed by the press and broadcasting from throughout the world.
MD June 1978, University of California, San Francisco, CA (Social Medicine Pathway)
MPH June 1978, University of California, Berkeley, CA (Epidemiology)
PhD December 1976, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA (Chem/Biochem)
MA June 1969, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA (Bio-organic Chemistry)
BS June 1967, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA (Organic Chemistry)