IEM Leadership

Dr. Rashid Chotani

Senior Scientist

IEM Senior Scientist Dr. Rashid Chotani has spent more than 20 years providing biosecurity and public health expertise to both public agencies and private industry. He is a recognized expert in the identification, surveillance, and diagnosis of human and zoonotic infectious diseases, such as brucellosis, anthrax, plague, and hemorrhagic and viral diseases. He has applied his depth of expertise in these areas to develop ground-breaking research and development programs and to advance development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for chemical and biological threats.

Through various positions, Dr. Chotani has provided key scientific leadership in medical defense to DTRA and JPEO CBD. He managed the DTRA Joint Science & Technology Office (JSTO) multi-million dollar portfolio of applied research and development projects focused on developing FDA-compliant medical counter measure (MCM) vaccines and therapeutics. He also established and managed the Medical Surveillance Systems and Medical Effects Modeling Thrust Areas program as a senior scientist, which is currently the second largest division at JSTO. As a contractor at JPEO CBD, he served as the Chief Scientist for the Joint Project Manager Chemical and Biological Medical Systems, managing a $500 million, multi-year program for MCM advanced development and establishing the bio-surveillance program with a focus on bio-threat agents. Earlier in his career, working for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Chotani developed the HL-7 Specifications for the Electronic Laboratory-Based Reporting of Public Health Information. This is now a standard used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to guide the sharing of laboratory findings to the appropriate government agencies across local, state, and federal levels.

Dr. Chotani’s success in the academic field includes establishing and directing the Global Infectious Disease Surveillance and Alert System (GIDSAS) at Johns Hopkins University, where he served as an Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine and Public Health. At the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratories he was part of the team that designed the first Early Detection of Bioterrorism System that became operational as ESSENCE at DoD. Components of ESSENCE are being used in BioSense at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Chotani has authored and co-authored over 50 scientific peer-reviewed papers on topics ranging from planning for pandemics to identifying innovative surveillance methods for rapid detection of disease outbreaks and bioterrorism.

Dr. Chotani earned his MD from the Eugenio Maria de Hostos School of Medicine and holds a Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics & International Health from Johns Hopkins. He is a prolific public speaker, having presented more than 30 scientific peer-reviewed papers during his academic career and speaking about public health and biosecurity interests at more than 70 national and international conferences across the globe. He has given presentations to a variety of government audiences, including officials from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russia, Indonesia, Poland, Singapore, Turkey, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

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IEM became one of the first companies to focus solely on emergency management and to use quantitative data and science to inform decisions in emergency management. Over the past 35 years, IEM has grown from a company of one to an employer of over 550 employees, and has provided clients and communities with innovative solutions that produce results and save lives.

The Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) is jointly managed by FEMA and the U.S. Army. The program ensures maximum protection for the communities surrounding U.S. chemical weapons stockpile sites. Since 1993, IEM has provided program integration services to FEMA and through FEMA to the states and counties that are part of CSEPP.

In 1999, FEMA selected IEM to be the CSEPP onsite Program Management and Integration Contractor. IEM worked with program managers to develop a flexible protection framework that broke down the “maximum protection” mandate into measurable benchmarks. These benchmarks have been adopted by emergency managers in 10 states, 40 countries, and one Tribal Nation.
IEM was awarded a five-year BPA with FEMA to continue working to further CSEPP initiatives between 2000 and 2004. During this time IEM was contracted to develop a secure website to facilitate communication and information-sharing among CSEPP planners nationwide who work in different jurisdictions. The website IEM created now has over 1,000 active users who use it as their primary source of CSEPP information. IEM also developed a demonstration version of an interactive computer-based “game” designed to illustrate the effects of different protective action decisions in a CSEPP emergency to citizens in the Madison County, KY, CSEPP community.

FEMA awarded IEM a second five-year BPA from 2005-2011. IEM was asked to provide CSEPP technical and analytical studies, risk assessments, support for development of programmatic guidance and preparation of reports to Congress. IEM was required to evaluate the Oregon CSEPP community’s readiness in the event of a depot incident. IEM also assisted in the planning and execution of regular readiness exercises and supported pre-exercise meetings. IEM’s work for CSEPP has been recognized on multiple levels. In 2004, FEMA and IEM received a Profiles in Innovation Award for Emergency Preparedness and Response Excellence from GOVSEC (Government Security Expo and Conference). IEM continues to work with FEMA to increase preparedness and achieve measurable results.

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QEM uses the information gathered from conducting different scenarios to calculate the risk and impact of implementing different risk-reducing strategies. It pinpoints the actions that are the most effective at reducing risk across a wide spectrum of potential events. QEM allows clients to know the best way to allocate funds and bridge gaps in preparedness without spending thousands of dollars to implement ideas that cannot work.

QEM’s methodology has been applied to hundreds of IEM projects, such as readiness assessments, chemical plant mitigation studies, protective action analyses, and hurricane evacuation planning. The U.S. Army and FEMA have repeatedly used QEM technology to assess strategies to protect citizens in case of an accidental release of chemical agents. DOD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) also utilized QEM to quantify the effectiveness of various chemical defense systems. The software continues to provide valuable solutions to clients.