Mark Smolinski, MD, MPH, a global leader in predicting and preventing threats to public health, received the University of Arizona Alumni of the Year award during Homecoming 2016. Dr. Smolinski is chief medical officer and director of Global Health Threats for the Skoll Global Threats Fund (SGTF).
The ceremony was held in the Grand Ballroom South of the Student Union Memorial Center on October 28. Alumni are recognized for their professional achievement, humanitarian and public service, advocacy for education, distinguished volunteerism, and service to students, the colleges and the UA.
As one of the founding directors at SGTF, Dr. Smolinski leads the Pandemics Team in its efforts to end pandemics in our lifetime. His current work includes engaging innovative ideas to apply technology to find, verify and report outbreaks faster. He is leading efforts across the globe to put the public back in public health through participatory surveillance. Dr. Smolinski has helped bring technologists and human and animal health experts together to co-create tools in Albania, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Tanzania and Thailand to help each country create their own solutions to pressing local needs.
Previously, Dr. Smolinski served as the Director of the Predict and Prevent Initiative at Google.org, when it was a start-up organization. While at Google.org, Dr. Smolinski worked with a team of engineers to create Google Flu Trends, a project that had tremendous impact on the use of big data for disease surveillance.
Before joining Google.org, Dr. Smolinski was the vice president for biological programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a public charity directed by CNN founder Ted Turner and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. There he led the development of a regional disease surveillance system linking Israel, Jordan and Palestine, demonstrating the power of health as a diplomatic tool even in areas of longstanding conflict.
Mark holds a B.S. from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he also received his MD. He received his MPH from the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.