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Acting Director, Office of Program Strategy and Accountability

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Role at CDC

Ms. O’Connor leads the use of innovative and collaborative approaches to drive optimal program strategy, system improvements, and outcomes in the center and other major CDC public health infrastructure programs. Her office leads strategic planning and fosters accountability in center programs. Ms. O’Connor also serves as the Executive Secretariat for the CDC Grants Governance Board whose purpose is to reduce burden on CDC grant recipients across all grants at CDC.

Previous experience

Ms. O’Connor has over 30 years of federal government service as a leader dedicated to improving the nation’s health and welfare through program stewardship and in strengthening the efficiency and effectiveness of programs in a variety of federal agencies. She has successfully mentored hundreds of professionals from diverse backgrounds, developed and implemented effective strategic plans, and ensured the success of major programmatic, policy, communication, and evaluation efforts.

Ms. O’Connor held various positions at CDC including serving as the deputy director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO) in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion where she provided strategic leadership to achieve high-impact public health outcomes of DNPAO investments. During COVID-19, she served for as a senior leader on multiple task forces. She led program strategy and advancement in the Associate Director for Program office including a major programmatic overhaul and standardization of CDC funding opportunities resulting in significant agency-wide human capital efficiencies, adoption of the standards for research, and significant efficiencies for applicants to ensure funds are invested in achieving high impact public health goals. Finally, she led policy and communications in the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Response where she led development of the first ever CDC preparedness reports on the state of public health readiness for public health emergencies showing improvements in capacities that received House and Senate Appropriations Committees’ commendations.

For 13 years prior to joining CDC, as part of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Ms. O’Connor directed national policy and program evaluations on issues of national significance on the effectiveness and efficiency of programs for Congress, the Secretary and program leadership. She served in a similar role at the U.S. Department of Justice. Her work in the Offices of Inspector General resulted in the publication of over 30 government reports with tangible recommendations for decision makers to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations in diverse program areas such as child support enforcement, foster care, food safety inspections, Medicaid, bioterrorism, immigration, and fugitive apprehension.

Education

Ms. O’Connor earned Master of Public Administration in Public Policy from George Mason University, and a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College.

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