Jana L. Telfer

Jana L. Telfer is Associate Director for Communication Science for the National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. With more than two decades in public relations and health and marketing communications, she is an expert in applied crisis, emergency, and risk communication and has been called on to respond to several national and international events.

Jana served as CDC’s communication officer in New York City during the first wave of response to the anthrax attacks of October of 2001. In January 2003, she was asked to assume the post of CDC’s Acting Director of Media Relations. In this capacity, she oversaw the agency’s public response to the national smallpox vaccination program; the SARS, monkeypox, West Nile, and influenza outbreaks; a new HIV prevention initiative. She also was one of only three Department of Health and Human Services communicators on a tiger team advising the Greek government on risk communication before the 2004 Olympic Games. Under her leadership, CDC initiated broadcast news briefings that extended the reach of public health information to a broader audience, and more than doubled the monthly volume of media calls to the agency.

Since joining NCEH/ATSDR in 2004, she has led the Center’s communication response to Hurricane Katrina, with a focus on plain language communication; she was detailed to Panama when a fatal outbreak of unknown origin called for bilingual risk communication expertise. She coordinated CDC’s communication response to the issues of formaldehyde levels in FEMA- supplied trailers and health effects of contaminated drywall. Most recently, she was deployed to Japan to assist with health risk communication in the aftermath of an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant accident.