2021 Plenary Speakers

We are pleased to announce the plenary sessions for the 2021 Alaska Health Summit.

Public Health Issues on COVID 19 from the National and State Perspective

11:00 – 12:30 pm ~ Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Dr. Jay C Butler, MD, Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases

Jay C. Butler, MD is the Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases. In this capacity, he provides leadership to the efforts of CDC’s three infectious disease national centers and helps to advance the agency’s cross-cutting infectious disease priorities.

Dr. Butler has 30 years of experience in increasingly complex public health leadership and management positions. He graduated from North Carolina State University with a BS in zoology, received his MD at the University of North Carolina, and did internship and residency training in medicine and pediatrics at Vanderbilt. After completing CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service in the Wisconsin Division of Health, Dr. Butler completed a preventive medicine residency with the Respiratory Diseases Branch in the National Center for Infectious Diseases, and an infectious disease fellowship at Emory University. He is board certified in medicine, pediatrics and infectious diseases, and has served in public health positions at federal, state, and tribal government, including completing more than 22 years in the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service, from which he retired at the level of Captain (Medical Director) in 2012.

From 1998-2005, Dr. Butler was Director of the Arctic Investigations Program and from June 2009 to March 2010 he directed CDC’s 2009 H1N1 Pandemic Vaccine Task Force, which achieved emergency vaccination of more than 80 million Americans. Dr. Butler made critical contributions to emerging infections, including serving on the Hantavirus Task Force in CDC’s Viral Special Pathogens in 1993 and 1994. He held leadership roles in multiple emergency responses, including CDC’s response to bioterrorist anthrax in 2001.

Dr. Butler has also held multiple leadership roles in Alaska, including Chief Medical Officer for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (2014-2018 and 2007-2009), State Epidemiologist (2005-2007), and Senior Director of the Division of Community Health Services for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) (2010-2014). He was President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials in 2016-2017 and has made important contributions to public health approaches to reducing harms associated with addiction.


Public Health Issues on COVID 19 from the National and State Perspective

11:00 – 12:30 pm ~ Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Dr. Anne Zink, MD, FACEP, Chief Medical Officer for the State of Alaska

Anne grew up in Colorado and moved through her training from College in Philadelphia to Medical School at Stanford and then Residency at University at Utah. As a mountaineering guide she had fallen in love with Alaska and after residency in Emergency Medicine became lucky enough to call Alaska home.   Not only does she love people and the place, but also the medicine. Alaska is a small isolated microcosm on the US health care where certain forces like the distance, lack of referral centers, and community involvement help create better systems of care that are directly related to bedside care. She quickly became involved in helping improve systems of care as the medical director of her group, then in her hospital and with state and federal legislation, including state legislation to improve care coordination, opioid addiction treatment option, integration between private systems and the VA, DOD, and IHS facilities and more.  

Dr. Zink had the honor of becoming the State of Alaska Chief Medical Officer in July 2019. In all the work she does, she strives to create work environments, policies, and practices that are data-driven, foster collaboration and build system efficiencies that put patients first. 


Preventing the Next Pandemic-Vaccine Diplomacy in a Time in Anti-Science

11:00 – 12:00 pm ~ Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Peter J Hotez, MD, PhD.

Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. is Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine where he is also the Director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics.  He is also University Professor at Baylor University, Fellow in Disease and Poverty at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy,  Senior Fellow at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at Texas A&M University, Faculty Fellow with the Hagler Institute for Advanced Studies at Texas A&M University, and Health Policy Scholar in the Baylor Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy.

Dr. Hotez is an internationally-recognized physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development.  As head of the Texas Children’s CVD, he leads a team and product development partnership for developing new vaccines for hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis,  Chagas disease, and SARS/MERS/SARS-2 coronavirus, diseases affecting hundreds of millions of children and adults worldwide, while championing access to vaccines globally and in the United States.  In 2006 at the Clinton Global Initiative he co-founded the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases to provide access to essential medicines for hundreds of millions of people.


Our trusted voices-A necessary and unique resource to address the climate crisis—a public health emergency

11:00 – 12:30 pm ~ Thursday, January 28, 2021

Ed Maibach, MPH, PhD

Ed Maibach is a Distinguished University Professor and Director of the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, where he co-leads the Climate Change in the American Mind public opinion research project, and oversees a range of public engagement projects involving TV weathercasters, journalists, physicians and other health professionals.  As a public health communication professional, Ed has worked for more than a decade to help Americans see climate change as the public health crisis that it is causing, and to build public and political will for climate solutions.  Earlier in his career, Ed had the pleasure of serving as the Associate Director of the National Cancer Institute, the Worldwide Director of Social Marketing at Porter Novelli, and as Co-Chair of the Board at Kidsave International.  Ed attended his first APHA meeting in 1982; it was a life-changing experience.