J. Stephen Morrison Appointed James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professor at Miller Center

WASHINGTON, January 22, 2021: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is pleased to announce that J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president and director of the Global Health Policy Center, has been appointed the next James R. Schlesinger distinguished professor at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.

As the Schlesinger distinguished professor over the 2021-22 academic year, Dr. Morrison will participate in Miller Center conferences and events; engage with faculty and students across the University of Virginia at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, the Law School, and the History and Politics Departments; and contribute to the millercenter.org website and other Miller Center publications. The University of Virginia established the Schlesinger distinguished professorship at the Miller Center in 2007 to bring public servants of great distinction to the university.

“Steve is a world-renowned thinker whose policy recommendations shape how the United States—and indeed the world—approaches the intersection of global health and national security,” said CSIS president and CEO John J. Hamre. “His appointment as the Schlesinger professor is well deserved, and I look forward to his contributions to the Miller Center. His work has never been so important. Steve’s appointment also has a special personal resonance for me: Secretary Schlesinger was a revered public servant and a dedicated CSIS trustee over many years.”

A leading practitioner and scholar on U.S. foreign policy, global health, Africa, and foreign assistance, Dr. Morrison is highly regarded for his groundbreaking analysis of infectious diseases, including Covid-19, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria; reproductive health and gender equality; immunizations; and health security. For the past three years, he has led global health security fora at the annual Munich Security Conference, and his work has shaped policymaking in Congress, in the executive branch, and internationally.

In addition to directing the Center’s Global Health Policy Center, which he founded in 2008, Dr. Morrison currently leads the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security. Over the next year, the commission will issue new recommendations on U.S. diplomatic capacities and long-range U.S. health security strategy, options to mitigate fiscal insolvency in the developing world, reform of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, and the future contributions of the Department of Defense. With Professor Heidi Larson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, he co-chairs the CSIS-LSHTM High-Level Panel on Vaccine Confidence and Misinformation, which convenes experts to articulate pragmatic solutions to the complex issues of vaccine hesitancy, misinformation, and national security against the backdrop of the Covid-19 crisis.

In recent years, he has also directed and produced documentary films, most notably The New Barbarianism, an award-winning examination of the surge of violence against the health sector, with original footage from Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. He is currently completing a five-part docuseries, The Pandemic Paradox: HIV on the Edge, on the risk of a resurgent HIV/AIDS epidemic four decades after the first case was reported and amid the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, his podcast series, Coronavirus Crisis Update, featured more than 70 episodes with a highly diverse array of prominent leaders and has been listened to over 100,000 times.

Prior to establishing the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, Morrison directed the Center’s Africa Program from 2000-2008. Before joining CSIS, he served in the Clinton administration as one of the founders of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives and as a member of the secretary of state’s policy planning staff. He previously worked in the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and as senior professional staff of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin and is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale College.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas to address the world’s greatest challenges.