Former Washington, DC, director for CDC office named WGHA president and CEO
Thursday, March 30, 2017—The Washington Global Health Alliance is pleased to announce that Dena Morris will join WGHA as president and chief executive officer on April 3, 2017. She takes the helm on the occasion of WGHA’s tenth anniversary.
Ms. Morris comes to WGHA from “the other Washington,” where she served as the director of the Washington, DC, office for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ms. Morris led CDC’s congressional engagement and was part of director Tom Frieden’s senior leadership team. Among many accomplishments, under her leadership the agency secured emergency appropriations to fund the response to the Zika virus and worked with Congress and stakeholders through the Flint, Michigan, water contamination discovery and response.
Prior to CDC, she led the policy team for Senator Richard Durbin, senior member of the Senate leadership for nine years. As legislative director, she assembled and managed a team of thirty policy staff, leading negotiations on student lending legislation, food safety reform, and biomedical research. Before joining the Senate, Ms. Morris was senior vice president of FaegreBD, a Washington, DC-based consulting firm. As co-chair of the health and disability rights practice team at the firm, she led federal work for the 1999 Women’s World Cup, the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, the Autism Society of America, and Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.
Ms. Morris brings considerable experience in strategic development, issue leadership, and consensus- building accumulated over her three-decade career. Ms. Morris received a master of public policy degree from Georgetown University and a bachelor of arts in political science from Indiana University.
As the leader of WGHA, Ms. Morris will lead the development of the organization’s strategic and operating plans while advocating across a diverse community of stakeholders and policymakers.
Though she is a recent transplant from Washington, DC, WGHA is not new to her. Her staff at CDC worked with the Alliance.
“I’m honored and grateful to the board for this opportunity to lead WGHA into its second decade. Washington is home to many innovative, thoughtful, and committed global health stakeholders. In this time of growing challenges to global health, I look forward to building on WGHA’s excellent record of success to enhance the work of our partners and collaborators in addressing those challenges in the years ahead,” said Ms. Morris.
Ms. Morris’ selection ends a three-month international search for WGHA’s next leader. WGHA’s governance board led the selection process.
“Dena has a track record of achievement in health and policy. She brings deep experience navigating complex issues. The board and staff are excited by the new possibilities for WGHA to grow and serve the needs of our members with Dena as the organization’s new leader,” said Curt Malloy, chair, WGHA board.
About the Washington Global Health Alliance
Washington State is a hub of global health innovation, with a diverse array of foundations, research institutions, nonprofits, and life sciences companies. Washington Global Health Alliance, founded by global health leaders in 2007, strategically connects, expands, and strengthens the global health community to advance health equity. WGHA catalyzes partnerships across organizations, disciplines, sectors, and ideologies and facilitates relationships at all levels of its 70-plus member organizations. WGHA believes that the global health community can improve more lives through strategic partnership and a collective voice.