Tara Jeanne O’Toole, MED MD ’81, was sworn in as Under Secretary for Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security on November 12, 2009. She served in that position until Sept. 2013. As Under Secretary for Science and Technology, she reported directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security. Dr. O’Toole advised on research and development efforts and priorities in support of the Department’s missions. Dr. O’Toole is internationally known for her work on biosecurity and on health and safety issues related to the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.
Prior to serving at DHS S&T, Dr. O’Toole was the CEO and Director of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Professor of Medicine and of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. O’Toole was one of the original members of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, serving as its director. Both centers were dedicated to improving the country’s resilience to major biological threats.Founding Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, she previously served as Chair of the Board of the Federation of American Scientists. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Dr. O’Toole holds a Bachelor of Science from Vassar College, an MD from the George Washington University and a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University. She completed internal medicine residency training at Yale and a fellowship in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.