Acting State Epidemiologist Appointed

Acting State Epidemiologist Appointed
Courtesy/ Dr. Matthew Donahue, Acting State Epidemiologist
June 11th, 2021 | Khalilah LeGrand, Office of Communications, Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services

Lincoln – Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Chief Executive Officer Dannette R. Smith and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Anthone are announcing that Dr. Matthew Donahue has been appointed Acting State Epidemiologist. He officially began his new position on Monday, June 4, 2021.

Donahue grew up in Iowa, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Iowa State University in 2012 with a major in biology and minor in psychology, before attending the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine and concluding his medical studies with emphasis in infectious diseases and global health in 2016. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center June 2019 with distinction in research and returned to the Midwest (Nebraska) as an applied epidemiology fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Through his work with the CDC, he served as a field officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service to coordinate epidemiologic investigations and responses domestically and internationally. This partnership brought him to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in August 2019.

Since 2013 Donahue, has been working in the United States and abroad applying his knowledge in a myriad of hands-on settings. Prior to COVID-19, he has supported domestic responses to gastrointestinal and respiratory disease outbreaks, developed a surveillance system for EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping-related lung injury), and worked on an invasive mosquito eradication campaign. Additionally, he assisted in the development of airport screening protocol for COVID-19 at LAX in 2020 and led the case investigation for the third COVID-19 case in the U.S. Internationally, he has worked on HIV and opportunistic infections in South Africa, helped develop a global health program in rural Peru from 2018 to 2019, and led epi teams during the polio response in Ghana in 2019.

Donahue brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm. He supported Nebraska’s local health departments and communities in their COVID-19 investigations, helped lead testing studies and expanded testing initiatives and investigations across the state, and developed variant of concern, reinfection, and vaccine breakthrough surveillance systems. He collaborated with the DHHS Data Team on the Nebraska COVID-19 dashboard and facilitated specimen collection processes at a vital time, while coordinating valuable resources in the state’s pandemic response and continues do so. 

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