Stephen O. Cunnion, MD, PhD, MPH, Captain, MC, U.S. Navy (Ret.), is President of International Consultants in Health, Inc., the Chief Medical Officer forNeuroRx, the Senior Medical Advisor at AURA Technologies, a partner in Diogenec Group, a Washington, DC professional services firm, and one of the founders of iJet.com, a risk assessment and management company. He holds an adjutant professorship in the Department of Epidemiology & Biometrics at the Uniformed Services University (USU).
Dr. Cunnion served as Director of Operational Medical Research for Bennett Aerospace and as an advisory board member for Quantum Leap Innovations, a technology company focused on the research and development of advanced analytics solutions, provided services as Director of Operational Medical Research at Bennett Aerospace, and as a subject matter expert for Firestorm Solutions, a disaster response and business continuity firm. He holds an adjunct professorship in the Department of Epidemiology & Biometrics at the Uniformed Services University (USU). Dr. Cunnion was appointed to the Maryland Veterans Commission in 2010.
Prior to his Navy career, Dr. Cunnion served as an Army combat medic in 1970 with MACV Team 18 assigned to the Ministry of Health, Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam. Dr. Cunnion has more than 35 years’ involvement in infectious diseases, including his preventive medicine residency at the University of Hawaii; investigating infectious disease outbreaks in the Pacific and Indian Oceans for both DoD and the State Department; conducting research on hepatitis A and B transmission during ship deployments; assisting the Thai military on malaria and HIV control; research on malaria and hepatitis D in China and Pakistan; and investigating biological and chemical agent exposures.
His medical education and training experience includes teaching leadership, triage, combat care, and patient evacuation for USU field medical training; authoring the first modern military field manual for malaria treatment and prevention, Navy Medical Department Guide to Malaria Prevention and Control; teaching infectious disease outbreak investigation for USU in 1995; and conducting smallpox vaccination training in 2002 for the DoD. Dr. Cunnion was the physician/scientist for the Joint Department of State/ Department of Defense Chemical Biological Warfare Team conducting the “Yellow Rain” investigations from 1984 to 1986 in Laos, Cambodia, and Afghanistan. Building on expertise gained in this assignment, he co-authored the Chemical-Biological Warfare (CBW) sample collection manual for the US Army. In 1995, while teaching outbreak investigation at the USU, Dr. Cunnion was the first physician to diagnosis an unusual thallium poisoning case in China via the Internet, a first for China at that time (JAMA, Vol. 274, No. 22, p. 1750).
In 2001 and 2002, he assisted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the anthrax crisis, serving as the physician in charge administering post exposure counseling, prophylaxis, and treatment to New Jersey postal workers. In addition to directing the research protocol regarding the administration of antibiotics and vaccinations, Dr. Cunnion furnished risk communication “question and answer” sessions to explain the risk and health issues involved with possible exposure and the use of the protective methods offered. From 2006 to 2011, Dr. Cunnion served as the Medical Director for the Center for Health Policy & Preparedness of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Arlington, VA.
Dr. Cunnion was also the first person to alert the Western world of the SARS outbreak (Brooks, T, Behind the Mask; How the World Survived SARS. American Public Health Association, Washington, DC, 2005, p. 11), for which he received the 2003 ProMED Reporting Award. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation news show Disclosure, aired on November 18, 2003 said:
“The week of February 10th, 2003 is a critical week in the SARS chronology. Now, the world would learn that a mysterious disease was on the loose in southern China.
“And how did the world learn? Not from the Chinese, and not from the WHO, but from a man named Dr. Stephen Cunnion.”