Sara Hersey is an infectious disease epidemiologist who has served in global public health leadership roles over the past two decades with the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Bank, and Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL). Her professional experience spans more 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean where she has led efforts in surveillance, outbreak preparedness and response, infectious disease prevention and treatment, strategic planning, policy, financing and program management.
Sara joined WHO in 2023 as the Director of Collaborative Intelligence for the Division of Health Emergency Intelligence and Surveillance Systems in the WHO Health Emergencies Programme. In this role, she is based in Berlin with the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence where she leads external partnerships, collaborations, and networks.
Previously, Sara was a senior advisor on health security and COVID-19 seconded to the World Bank by RTSL. Sara was the first US CDC Country Director in Sierra Leone, leading their Ebola response and establishing the Global Health Security Agenda program for the US Government. She was also the US CDC Country Director in South Sudan through the 2013-14 civil war. Sara has worked as an epidemiologist with the US CDC in Malawi and South Africa, with UNHCR responding to complex emergencies, and with FHI 360 in the Asia Pacific region. Sara started her international career with the US Peace Corps in Malawi and her public health career with Planned Parenthood.