Sara A. Jahnke, Ph.D.

National Development & Research Institutes

Why do you want to serve as a leader in the College?

I am a strong believer in the impact of epidemiology and the effect it can have on policy, intervention, and decision making.  The College is clearly the leader in this field and uniquely situated to drive the influence of epidemiologic findings for communities and populations.  Currently, I serve on the publications committee and am interested in expanding my service with the organization.

What are your qualifications and experiences that will help you in service as a leader?

My role as Senior Scientist and Director of the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research at National Development and Research Institutes USA has afforded me the ability to hone my leadership skills not only in directing project staff and colleagues but in building relationships and networks among a diverse range of stakeholders.  I have come to appreciate the challenges and opportunities of working with a team for a greater good and that strong leadership is as much about collaboration and communication as it is leading.  My research portfolio includes more than a hundred peer reviewed publications and I have served as Principal Investigator on several large-scale cohort studies funded by organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institutes of Health. Most of my work has focused on first responder and military populations.  Through research with these populations and the dissemination of our epidemiologic findings, I have been able to see the direct intervention, prevention and policy impact findings can have. 

My leadership skills also have been tried and tested through my role on the Board of Directors of a local charity serving low SES children in the community.  As an all-volunteer organization, I have learned the need for creative problem solving and multi-tasking within a role.  Similarly, I serve on the Board of Directors for The First Twenty, a wellness program designed by and for the fire service.  This leadership role has provided ample opportunity for goal setting and developing and implementing action plans to move the organization forward.