Dr. Eric Rasmussen

Faculty

Disaster Resilience, Global Health

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Areas of Expertise

GGC-Health  •  GGC-Environment  •  GGC-Disaster Resilience

About Eric

Dr. Rasmussen is a medical doctor and the CEO for Infinitum Humanitarian Systems (IHS), a multinational consulting group built on a profit-for-purpose model. By training he is an internal medicine physician with both undergraduate and medical degrees from Stanford University and a European Master’s degree in disaster medicine from the UN World Health Organization’s affiliate CEMEC (Centre European pour la Medecin des Catastrophes) in Italy. He was elected a Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 1997 and a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club in 2014.

In addition to his corporate responsibilities Rasmussen is a Research Professor in Environmental Security and Global Medicine at San Diego State University and an instructor in disaster medicine at both the International Disaster Academy in Bonn, Germany (BBK, or Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz ind
Katastrophenhilfe) and the Institute for Disaster Preparedness at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

He also serves pro bono as medical director for two biotech startups, and as Permanent Advisor to the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Expert Panel on Water Disasters. He has been a member of the US National Academy of Science’s Committee on Grand Challenges in Global Development since 2012.

Rasmussen is a specialist in the humanitarian sciences with extensive experience in highly-vulnerable communities in Haiti, Mexico, Curacao, Nepal, Cambodia, the Philippines, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Yemen.
His disaster deployments include Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria in 2017 (3x), Haiti for Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the Nepal earthquake in 2015, Supertyphoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Superstorm Sandy in New York, Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, Banda Aceh for the tsunami, and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Eric served in the US Navy for 25 years aboard nuclear submarines, amphibious ships, and aircraft carriers. His positions included Fleet Surgeon for the US Navy’s Third Fleet, director of an Intensive Care Unit, and Chairman of an academic department of medicine in Seattle. His wartime deployments included
Bosnia (x3), Afghanistan (x2), and Iraq for eight months. He also spent nine years as a Principal Investigator in humanitarian informatics for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) where his focus was civil-military collaboration in conflict zones. In 2003 he received DARPA’s capstone award as Outstanding Investigator of the Year. Soon after he retired from the Navy to serve as the founding CEO of the TED Prize called InSTEDD, a humanitarian NGO established by Dr. Larry Brilliant, then Executive Director of Google.org. InSTEDD’s charter is to put into action the goals outlined by Dr. Brilliant’s 2006 TED Prize speech for better global disease outbreak surveillance and response. Dr. Rasmussen shifted from CEO to Chair of the InSTEDD Board of Directors in 2010 and became CEO of IHS soon after.

Since 2014 he has also led the Global Disaster Response Team for the Roddenberry Foundation, supported by the Star Trek franchise.

Eric lives with Demi, his wife of more than 30 years, on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, Washington.

Ebola: responding, creating, and striving | Eric Rasmussen | TEDxBerkeley

Out of the Shadows: A Universal Identification System | Eric Rasmussen | TEDxSanJuanIsland

Exponential Technologies And Disaster Response | Eric Rasmussen | Exponential Medicine 2015

Speaking Topics

  • Biometric identity

    The concept of a universal biometric identity is fraught with Western concerns about individual privacy, and rightly so. For those with no recognized identity at all, however, being acknowledged as “alive” is an important step toward safety, security, and upward mobility. In this talk, I discuss real-world examples of the costs of being “invisible” and some biometric options that seem to be working to reduce the exploitation, trafficking, and slavery of those living in the shadows.

  • Ebola

    The advent of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was a tragedy of significant proportions. Like any complex event, however, there were lessons to be learned and new directions to explore in ensuring we could not be quite so surprised next time. In this talk, I describe a few of the many advances we made in science, technology, and policy during this outbreak, with particular attention to a basic science discovery that may help us understand far broader biological paradigms

  • Global Health & Disaster Resilience

    Building resilience against natural disasters, climate change and security risks is increasingly important and exponential technologies are providing an opportunity to build more resilient systems as well as create new solutions to quickly recover when disasters occur. Recent disasters such as serial hurricanes that struck the US and Caribbean in 2017 give us new insight into how innovative thinkers are building solutions to help speed recovery and in some cases leapfrog their communities into the future.

  • Global Public Health: Improving Human Security as an Exponential Opportunity

    Building resilience against natural disasters, climate change, and security risks is increasingly important and exponential technologies are providing an opportunity to build more resilient systems as well as create new solutions to quickly recover when disasters occur. Recent disasters such as serial hurricanes that struck the US and Caribbean in 2017 give us new insight into how innovative thinkers are building solutions to help speed recovery and in some cases leapfrog their communities into the future.

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