Dr. Margaret “Margo” Riggs is commissioned as a Captain in the U.S. Public Health Service and has been working in domestic and international public health for 14 years. She is now serving as the CDC Liaison to SOAR directing the Healthy Communities goal in our Blueprint for the Future of Appalachia. Most recently she was an Associate Director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Lusaka, Zambia working with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) focused on establishment of the Zambia National Public Health Institute. Dr. Riggs also oversaw 3 branches with 25 staff: Field Epidemiology Training Program, Health Informatics, Epidemiology and Science with an annual HIV/AIDS program budget of over $120 million.
Prior to joining the CDC Zambia office in 2015, Dr. Riggs was with CDC Atlanta as a Supervisory Epidemiologist in the Career Epidemiology Field Officer Program. She oversaw 30 senior epidemiologists assigned to state and local health departments around the US and its territories who worked to build public health preparedness and outbreak response capacity. She also served as acting Territorial Epidemiologist for the U.S. Virgin Islands and participated in several large public health response efforts to include: Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa, Superstorm Sandy in NJ and the Haiti Earthquake.
Before moving to Atlanta in 2012, she was a CDC Epidemiologist assigned to the Kentucky Department for Public Health in Frankfort, KY. In this a role she worked across Kentucky responding to natural disasters and outbreaks, building environmental health capacity and helping to improve overall health by getting Kentucky kids outdoors thru relationships between local health staff and environmental educators. Dr. Riggs began her career with CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati, OH.
Dr. Riggs completed a post doctoral fellowship in Perinatal Epidemiology at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD and graduated from the University of Florida with a PhD in Immunology/Pathobiology, Master of Public Health in Epidemiology, Master of Science in Endocrinology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science.
The partnership between SOAR and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been critical in progressing the Healthy Communities blueprint goal forward.
“When SOAR was first created, we knew that in order to create a healthy economy, we first had to address the health disparities across our region. Through the support of Congressman Hal Rogers, we were able to establish a partnership with the CDC,” says SOAR Executive Director Jared Arnett.
The experience and knowledge that Dr. Riggs has acquired throughout her career will be a valuable addition to SOAR.
“Dr. Riggs is from Kentucky and understands both the complex challenges we face but also the partnerships and collaborations that are working to solve those problems here in Appalachia Kentucky,” says Arnett.
To learn more about the work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a Public Partner of SOAR, visit their website.