Senior Health & Policy Specialist
“Interfaces are often the best places to identify challenges and find solutions. EcoHealth Alliance works at the interface of animal, human, and environmental health, seeking to understand drivers for spillover and ways of counteracting it. I have found in parallel that professional interfaces also represent areas of tremendous opportunity. For me, that means working actively in medicine, science, and policy to understand, treat, and mitigate zoonotic disease events.”
Ellen Carlin received a bachelor’s of science in biology from the College of Mount Saint Vincent and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. Her work at EcoHealth Alliance is focused on a variety of scientific and policy initiatives that advance the ecological health mission of the organization. A major project she directs is the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, which works to recommend and advocate for improvements in the national capacity for infectious disease prevention and preparedness. She also provides scientific and policy subject matter expertise for a variety of other grants and contracts in EcoHealth Alliance’s portfolio.
Prior to joining EcoHealth Alliance, Ellen consulted in public health and policy for several years. One of the most important and eye-opening projects was One Health capacity building work in Guinea with colleagues from George Washington University. In 2013, she completed a fellowship at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine, where she worked on data analysis and other aspects of antimicrobial resistance. She had previously worked as senior professional staff with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, where for more than five years she handled medical preparedness, biodefense, and science and technology policy.
Ellen likes to keep her hands dirty in veterinary medicine, and has worked or volunteered as a small animal clinical veterinarian for organizations including the Washington Animal Rescue League, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, PetCo, and private clinics, and continues to do so, serving her interests in animal welfare, public health, and parasitology. She also enjoys the occasional small animal medicine volunteer excursion to developing countries or underserved areas of the U.S.
Her work is published in a variety of journals, including the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Trends in Parasitology, and Veterinary Therapeutics. In this context she has most enjoyed working with Cornell colleagues on prevalence mapping of small animal, vector-borne zoonoses like heartworm and Lyme disease. She has also published on smallpox which, although not a zoonosis, is an interesting pathogen case study in its ability to reveal our baseline preparedness for an ancient and relatively well understood infectious disease.
Ellen is an adjunct research scientist at the Columbia University National Center for Disaster Preparedness; serves on the President’s Council of Cornell Women; and is a volunteer with the NYC Medical Reserve Corps.