John M. Barry is an award-winning author whose books have also involved him in policymaking. The National Academies of Science named his 2004 book The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, a study of the 1918 pandemic, the year’s outstanding book on science or medicine, and it has been a #1 New York Times best-seller.
He is the only non-scientist ever to give the National Academies of Sciences Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture, and he was the only non-scientist on a federal government Infectious Disease Board of Experts. His articles have appeared in such scientific journals as Nature and Journal of Infectious Disease, in such lay publications as The New York Times, Esquire, Time, and The Washington Post, and he has been a guest on every broadcast network in the United States.
An advisor to the Bush and Obama administrations on influenza preparedness and response, he served on the original team which recommended public health measures to mitigate a pandemic. After Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana congressional delegation asked him to chair a bipartisan working group on flood protection, and he served on both the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the levee board protecting metropolitan New Orleans, where he was the architect of the board’s lawsuit against 97 energy companies for their role in coastal land loss. Barry has worked with the private sector and with state, federal, United Nations, and World Health Organization officials on influenza, water-related disasters, and risk communication. He serves on numerous advisory boards and is a Distinguished Scholar at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.