Department of Health Metrics Sciences

Ali Mokdad

Professor; Chief Strategy Officer of Population Health; Associate Chair for Collaboration; Associate Chair for Equity

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Ali H. Mokdad, PhD, is a Professor of Health Metric Science at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington and the vice chair of the Executive Council for the Population Health , launched by UW President Ana Mari Cauce to create a shared vision for improving the health and well-being of populations locally and around the world. IHME was founded in 2007 at the University of Washington to provide better evidence to improve health globally by guiding health policy and funding.


As a public health researcher, Professor Mokdad has published ground breaking work on local-level disease trends and some of the leading risk factors for poor health. His work on obesity is among the most highly cited in the field.


As the Director of Middle Eastern Initiatives for IHME, Professor Mokdad is building IHME’s presence in the Middle East through new research projects, dissemination and uptake of IHME’s methods and results, and consultation with regional leaders in population health.


Professor Mokdad is the principal investigator for the monitoring and evaluation of the Salud Mesoamerica Initiative where he provides independent evaluation for the public-private partnership between the Mesoamerican countries, private foundations, and bilateral donors. This partnership seeks to reduce inequities in the coverage of basic health services among the poorest populations in Mesoamerica. He is also the principal investigator of “Visualizing the impact and cost of interventions on future projections of diarrhea burden” whose goal is to provide 25-years of forecasting for diarrheal disease burden and a simulation for the cost effectiveness of known and developing interventions.


Prior to joining IHME, Prof. Mokdad worked at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), starting his career there in 1990. He served in numerous positions with the International Health Program; the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity; the National Immunization Program; and the National Center for Chronic Diseases Prevention and Health Promotion, where he was Chief of the Behavioral Surveillance Branch.


Prof. Mokdad also managed and directed the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the world’s largest standardized telephone survey, which enables the CDC, state health departments, and other health and education agencies to monitor risk behaviors related to the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States.


Prof. Mokdad has published more than 450 articles and numerous reports. He has received several awards, including the Global Health Achievement Award for his work in Banda Aceh after the tsunami, the Department of Health and Human Services Honor Award for his work on flu monitoring, and the Shepard Award for outstanding scientific contribution to public health for his work on BRFSS.


He received his BS in Biostatistics from the American University of Beirut and his PhD in Quantitative Epidemiology from Emory University.