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Saskia Popescu PhD, MPH, MA

Saskia  Popescu PhD, MPH, MA

Adjunct Professor, Public Health

Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department

PO Box: 245210
Tucson AZ 85724


Saskia Popescu, PhD, MPH, MA, CIC is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. She is an infectious disease epidemiologist and infection preventionist with a focus on hospital biopreparedness and the role of infection prevention in health security efforts. 

Dr. Popescu holds a PhD in Biodefense from George Mason University, a Masters in Public Health with a focus on infectious diseases, and a Masters of Arts in International Security Studies, from the University of Arizona. Dr. Popescu is an Alumni Fellow of the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Health Security. She currently serves as a member of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Coronavirus Taskforce and is a member of the Committee on Data Needs to Monitor Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 within the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). 

Dr. Popescu is also an external expert for the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), and a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship at George Mason University. During this time she served as a student ambassador for the Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, and has served as a signatory on the NGO statement for the Biological Weapons Convention. In 2010, she was a recipient of the Frontier Interdisciplinary eXperience (FIX) HS-STEM Career Development Grant in Food Defense through the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. During her work as an infection preventionist, she managed Ebola response, a 300+ measles exposure resulting in an MMWR article, and bioterrorism preparedness in the hospital system. More recently, she created and disseminated a gap analysis for a 6-hospital system to establish vulnerabilities for high-consequence diseases, helping to guide the creation of a high-consequence disease initiative to enhance readiness at the healthcare level. Her assessment and leadership regarding healthcare biopreparedness efforts has resulted in several peer-reviewed literature. She is certified in infection prevention (CIC), hospital preparedness through FEMA’s NIMS, and pandemic preparedness from the DHS Center for Domestic Preparedness. Dr. Popescu's research focuses addresses gaps within global health security, biodefense, healthcare biopreparedness, and the integration of antimicrobial resistance into global health security initiatives. 



• Saskia Popescu, How Cost Containment Undermines Disease Containment: Political and Economic Obstacles to Investing in Infection Prevention and Control (Contracted with Johns Hopkins University Press, 2021).

Articles and Book Chapters

• Saskia Popescu. Infection Prevention and Control: A Biodefense Measure. Defense Against Biological Attacks. Volume I. Singh S., Kuhn J. Springer. Switzerland. 2019, 145-169.

•Myers, N., Popescu, S. Interdisciplinary Information for Infectious Disease Response: Exercising for Improved Medical/Public Health Communication and Collaboration. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. (accepted June, 2020).

• Saskia Popescu. A Canary in a COVID Coal Mine: Building Better Healthcare Biopreparedness Policy. World Medical & Health Policy. (Accepted May, 2020).

• Keshavarz, M., Rezaei, N., Popescu, S. Prevention of COVID-19: preventive strategies for general populations, healthcare settings, and various professions. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Springer, expected 2021.

• Saskia Popescu. Hospital Biopreparedness in the Looming Presence of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19. Health Science Reports.Volume 3(13), DOI:10.1002/hsr2.149.
• Saskia Popescu. (2020). Roadblocks to Infection Prevention Efforts in Healthcare SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19Response. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 1-7. doi:10.1017/dmp.2020.55

• Pugel B, Popescu S, Madad S. Restricted and Uncontained: Health Considerations in the Event of Loss of Containment During the Restricted Earth Return of Extraterrestrial Samples. Health Secur. 2020;18(2):132-138. doi:10.1089/hs.2019.0088

• Popescu S., Leach R. Identifying Gaps in Frontline Healthcare Facility High-Consequence Infectious Disease Preparedness. Health Security, March/April 2019, 17:2.

• McCullough M., Fowel, N. et al. Cost Analysis of 3 Concurrent Public Health Response Events -Financial Impact of Measles Outbreak, Super Bowl Surveillance, and Ebola Surveillance in Maricopa County. Public Health Management & Practice. June 20, 2018.

• Jones, Jefferson & Klein, Ron & Popescu, Saskia & Rose, Karen & Kretschmer, Melissa & Carrigan, Alice & Trembath, Felicia & Koski, Lia & Zabel, Karen & Ostdiek, Scott & Rowell-Kinnard, Paula & Munoz, Esther & Sunenshine, Rebecca & • Sylvester, Tammy. (2015). Lack of Measles Transmission to Susceptible Contacts from a Health Care Worker with Probable Secondary Vaccine Failure — Maricopa County, Arizona, 2015. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 64. 832-3. 10.15585/mmwr.mm6430a5.

• Norman, L., Caldiera, F., Callegary, J. Gray, F., O’Rourke, M., Meranza, V., van Rijn, S. Socio-Environmental

Health Analysis in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. (2012). Water Quality, Exposure and Health, 4(2): 79-81.

Non-Peer Reviewed Articles and Opinion Pieces

•Saskia Popescu, “Arizona reopened too fast. Epidemiologists knew it, but we couldn’t stop it.” The Washington Post. July 16 2020.

• Saskia Popescu and Greg Koblentz. “Hear, see, speak no COVID: Why the Trump administration is bungling the response to the pandemic.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. June 18, 2020.

•Saskia Popescu. “Pandemic dispatch: An infection-prevention expert on shortages, misinformation, and health worker strain on the coronavirus front line”. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. May 8, 2020.

• Saskia Popescu. “If the coronavirus outbreak grows, can a strained US healthcare system stay up?” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. February 12, 2020.

• Saskia Popescu. “Of quarantines and robots: How smart are US and Chinese efforts to combat the Wuhan coronavirus?”. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. January 28, 2020.

• Syra Madad and Saskia Popescu, FoxBusiness: Coronavirus, nursing homes, and elderly: the age at which you’re considered ‘at risk’. March 10, 2020.

• Syra Madad and Saskia Popescu, FoxBusiness: Coronavirus crisis – Hospitals need to do these 4 things now to prepare for a pandemic. February 28, 2020.

Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley, Saskia Popescu. “The dread and the awe: Crispr’s inventor assesses her creation”. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. March 8, 2018.

• Saskia Popescu. “Antimicrobial resistance: an underrated biological threat”. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. November 21, 2017.

• Saskia Popescu. Global Reaches of Antibiotic Resistance, Crisis Response Journal (August, 2016).

• Contributor to Global Biodefense and Contagion Live– The Up-Hill Battle of Antibiotic Resistance in the World of Infection Prevention, Rewiring Outbreak Preparedness and Response, Pediatrics and Bioterrorism: the Forgotten Patient Population, etc.

The University of Arizona