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Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention


Kara Morgan

Kara Morgan
Kara Morgan
Associate Director, Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention
The Ohio State University
227C Parker Food Science and Technology Building
Degree Information: 
PhD, Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
MS, Environmental Science, Indiana University
BS, Mathematics, Michigan State University

Dr. Kara Morgan has spent twenty years working at the interface of science, policy, data, and decision-making at the federal and the state level. She earned her Master’s in Environmental Science from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University, and her Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.  Dr. Morgan was a senior advisor for risk analysis at the United States Food and Drug Administration for 11 years, supporting the agency’s adoption of risk-based decision-making. She also spent seven years at non-profit science research firms as a federal contractor for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and other public health agencies, helping them improve their use of data for decision making.

In her work, she focuses on finding the mechanisms and levers for moving forward the well-understood but underused tools of data-informed and value-based decision making, keeping a firm view on the outcomes that are intended. Her main interest is in supporting the tools needed for effective risk management decisions, including the consideration of data quality, the appropriateness of analytical tools, uncertainties, the development and use of performance measurement systems, regular use of program evaluation, and the use of good decision-analytic principles.

Her work has provided an opportunity to apply key technical skills to meet quality standards, strategic planning, performance measurement, program evaluation, risk-based decision making, and policy needs; all in a wide range of health-related areas. Thus, she commonly applies and provides advice on tools such as results-oriented management, multi-attribute utility models, program evaluation, and expert elicitation. She is skilled at collaboration, and in helping to successfully bridge between technical quantitative analysis and policy decision making. All the while advocating for the application of qualitative frameworks to inform good decision-making when appropriate. Ultimately, Dr. Morgan is honored to be contributing to the food safety work in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the Ohio State University.