Sachiko Kuwabara, PhD, MA
Director, Risk Management and Operational Integrity
Division of Emergency Operations
Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Sachiko Kuwabara is the Director for the Office of Risk Management and Operational Integrity (RMOI) in the Division of Emergency Operations. As Director, she provides overarching strategic leadership, centralized management, coordination and guidance to identify and mitigate risks inherent in public health emergency preparedness and response operations. RMOI is committed to addressing the various aspects of emergency operations that can impact personnel, processes and performance; including the characteristics of and processes for evaluating and implementing risk and operational integrity management systems.
Prior to serving as the Director of RMOI, Dr. Kuwabara served as the Deputy for the Deployment Risk Mitigation Unit (DRMU). In this role, Dr. Kuwabara relied on her training as a psychiatric epidemiologist to help guide the development of support programs to meet the needs of agency staff working on the frontline of the Ebola outbreak. The DRMU was stood up during CDC’s 2014 Ebola Response and was tasked with addressing concerns related to responder well-being. The unit supported CDC’s mission of ensuring safer, healthier people by addressing the needs of deployed CDC staff and their families.
Dr. Kuwabara officially joined DEO in 2015 and has forged new working relationships and synergies across the organization - including serving as the co-lead and founder of the Deployment Community and the lead for OPHPR’s Excellence in Response Operations Initiative.
Post-Ebola, the unit’s role expanded to include mitigating risks to CDC’s ability to effectively support and respond to public health emergencies more broadly. To reflect this expanded role, the unit was renamed RMOI in 2017. Through strategic risk management, preparedness and capacity development, a strong evaluation framework and measurable performance indicators, RMOI helps CDC to operate reliably, efficiently and safely in preparing for and responding to urgent threats to the public’s health.
Dr. Kuwabara holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of California, San Diego; a masters in psychology and human development from the University of Chicago; and a doctorate in public health from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Kuwabara loves to travel, is an avid runner and a PADI certified scuba diver but her favorite hobby is racing rally cars on ice in Finland.