Execs from James Lee Witt Associates and Target Corporation Join CIDRAP Business Source Editorial Board

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The former director of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the Clinton Administration and the medical director of Target Corporation will join the editorial board of a University of Minnesota public health enterprise to help employers prepare for and respond to infectious disease threats.

The former director of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the Clinton Administration and the medical director of Target Corporation will join the editorial board of a University of Minnesota public health enterprise to help employers prepare for and respond to infectious disease threats.

The University of Minnesota announced today that James Lee Witt, chief executive officer of James Lee Witt Associates, a part of GlobalOptions Group, and Joshua Riff, M.D., M.B.A., medical director of Target Corporation, will serve on the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) Business Source Editorial Board, which is headed by infectious disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D., M.P.H.

"Our goal is to provide current, practical, and authoritative information to employers about infectious disease threats such as influenza pandemics, new emerging infectious agents, and potential bioterrorism. The addition of Mr. Witt and Dr. Riff will further strengthen our ability to provide this practical, up-to-date information,” said Osterholm, editor-in-chief for the service and CIDRAP director.

James Lee Witt
As chairman and CEO of James Lee Witt Associates, a part of GlobalOptions Group, Inc., Witt is responsible for overseeing disaster recovery and mitigation management services to state and local governments, educational institutions, the international community, and corporations. Witt has more than 30 years of disaster management experience, including an appointment as the director of FEMA where he served from 1993-2001. He is credited with turning FEMA from an unsuccessful bureaucratic agency to an internationally lauded all-hazards disaster management agency.

“In an economic environment where budgets are tighter than ever, it is critical that employers incorporate lessons learned from others instead of reinventing the wheel. I am looking forward to sharing the lessons learned from our firm’s experience gained by working with clients across the country and around the world with the editorial board and subscribers,” said Witt.

Joshua Riff, M.D., M.B.A.
Riff plays an important role in creating a culture of health and wellness for Target’s more than 350,000 employees; reinforcing the retailer as a leading health care partner for consumers; and is considered a leader in ensuring the company’s preparedness for influenza pandemics. Riff will provide practical expertise in designing and implementing large-scale programs within the corporate setting. Additionally, Riff’s continuing work as an emergency room physician adds on-the-ground medical expertise to the editorial board.

“Target is headquartered in Minnesota, but our reach is global. We’ve developed comprehensive, companywide pandemic influenza plans to prevent the spread of virus, protect our team members and guests, and provide essentials to our communities,” Riff said. “I’m honored to serve on the editorial board and look forward to sharing what we’ve learned with other employers as we work together to keep our communities healthy.”

Initially launched three years ago and now the core of the center’s business preparedness unit, CIDRAP Business Source is an international leader in driving worldwide business preparedness for pandemic influenza and other infectious disease or public health crises. The subscription service provides authoritative, timely, and actionable information through weekly Osterholm Briefing and Osterholm Briefing Update e-mail briefings and by facilitating planning among the private, public, and public health sectors aimed at saving lives and preserving enterprises.

Since establishing resources for business preparedness, the center has helped more than 5,000 professionals from around the globe through live interactive Web-based seminars, in-person international and national summits, and special reports, all of which are incorporated into its comprehensive subscription service available at: http://www.cidrapsource.com.

About the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP)
CIDRAP, founded in 2001, is a global leader in addressing public health preparedness and emerging infectious disease response. Part of the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota, the center reduces illness and death from infectious diseases by effecting change through public policy refinement, fostering the adoption of science-based best practices in public health among professionals and the public, and conducting original interdisciplinary research.

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Laura Stroup
University of Minnesota
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