Neil Vora

Neil Vora

Pandemic Prevention Fellow at Conservation International

Pronouns: He/his

Nominated by M. Sanjayan

Conservation International

Neil is a physician with Conservation International. His expertise is on the increasing threat of pandemics from viruses that jump from animals to people because of the destruction of nature. His work focuses on how policy can be used to both save nature and prevent pandemics.

He previously served for nearly a decade with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer and a Commander in the US Public Health Service (USPHS). Neil deployed to Liberia in 2014 and to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2019 to assist in the responses to the two largest Ebola outbreaks ever. He also led the investigation of a newly discovered virus in the country of Georgia related to the smallpox and monkeypox viruses. From 2020-2021, Neil developed and led New York City’s COVID-19 contact tracing program, overseeing a team of over 3,000 people.

For his work, he has received numerous accolades including the USPHS Physician Researcher of the Year Award, CDC James H. Steele Veterinary Public Health Award, CDC Donald C. Mackel Memorial Award, and CDC Alexander D. Langmuir Prize Manuscript Award. Neil has published over 60 articles in leading journals including Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet and others. He is an Associate Editor at CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, an Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Columbia University, and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He still sees patients in a public tuberculosis clinic in New York City.

Outside of work, Dr. Vora loves to spend time with his rescue pets and to train in Brazilian jiu jitsu.

Thematic photo by Robert Bye