keynote speaker Alan Parkinson

Alan Parkinson, PhD
United States of America

Infectious Disease in the Circumpolar North: Prevention and Control in an Era of a Changing Climate

Dr. Parkinson earned his Ph.D. degree in microbiology in 1976 from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand, and undertook a post doctoral fellowship at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center conducting research on infectious diseases and immunity in persons in isolated communities in Antarctica as a Staff Scientist at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, before accepting a position at the CDC’s Arctic Investigations Program in 1984.

Dr. Parkinson’s research interests included laboratory and epidemiological aspects of infectious disease detection, prevention and control in Arctic and sub-Arctic populations. He has authored or co-authored more than 150 peer reviewed scientific publications. Together with colleagues in the Arctic Council and International Union for Circumpolar Health, Dr. Parkinson conceived and established in 1998, the International Circumpolar Surveillance system for sharing infectious disease surveillance among Arctic Nations. Dr. Parkinson has since served as the US and CDC health representative on the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Group, Sustainable Development Working Group, and since 2010, the Arctic Councils Human Health Experts Group.

During the International Polar Year (2007-2009) he led the Joint Arctic Council- International Union for Circumpolar Health, Arctic Human Health Initiative.  He served as a steering committee member for the 15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health in 2012, and was co-editor for the Congress Proceedings. He has represented the CDC on the US Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee, since 1998, and founded a Circumpolar Climate Change and Infectious Diseases Group in 2010. 

Dr. Parkinson has provided the Arctic perspective on emerging infectious diseases for the US Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Microbial Threats in 2008 and 2013. On December 31, 2014 Dr. Parkinson retired from the CDC’s Arctic Investigations Program after 30 years of service, but plans to continue his interest in promoting human health in circumpolar populations.