Matthew P. Shearer is an associate scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and a senior research associate in the department of environmental health and engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His primary research and practice interests include infectious disease outbreak and epidemic response, healthcare and public health resilience for high-consequence infectious disease events, biological weapons nonproliferation policy, and exercise development and implementation.
Mr. Shearer contributes to a broad scope of domestic and international Center projects, including numerous efforts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and he was an integral part of developing and implementing the Clade X and Event 201 pandemic exercises. He serves as an Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Health Security and formerly served as Managing Analyst at the Center as well as the Deputy Program Manager for the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative Fellowship program.
Mr. Shearer’s domestic work focuses principally on outbreak and epidemic response policy and operations. He has served as Project Manager for Outbreak Observatory since its inception in 2017. Outbreak Observatory aims to capture and disseminate operational lessons from outbreak responses, based on the firsthand experience of frontline responders, in order to improve domestic and global public health and healthcare preparedness. As part of Outbreak Observatory, he has completed studies on the public health response to domestic hepatitis A and measles epidemics and the operational impact of seasonal influenza on hospitals and health systems. He also contributed to Center projects on US healthcare operations, including in high-level isolation units and monitoring and movement restriction policies in response to the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola epidemic as well as communications and operations for medical countermeasures distribution and dispensing.
Mr. Shearer also has a diverse international portfolio, ranging from national-level public health and preparedness capacity to regional natural, accidental, and deliberate biological threats to biological weapons nonproliferation policy. He is the Lead Analyst for the Center’s Southeast Asia Multilateral Biosecurity Dialogue, which convenes a diverse group of experts from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States to discuss ongoing and emerging biosecurity priorities, challenges, and threats in the Southeast Asia region. He has participated in multiple collaborations with the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC), including an analysis of Taiwan CDC’s seasonal influenza mass vaccination program and as a member of the External Assessment Team for Taiwan’s 2016 Joint External Evaluation. He also developed and conducted biosecurity, outbreak response, and exercise development and implementation training for private sector clinicians and other health experts in Iraq. He is currently leading research to develop policy guidance for elected and appointed officials on the use of nonpharmaceutical interventions for emerging outbreaks and epidemics.
Mr. Shearer leads much of the Center's work on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) and often represents the Center at BWC meetings in Geneva, Switzerland. He helped conceive and direct the Global Forum on Scientific Advances Important to the BWC, which convenes an international group of technical and policy experts to inform BWC delegations on emerging and future capabilities in biotechnology and other scientific fields with potential impact on BWC policy and implementation. He supported the BWC Implementation Support Unit in hosting a series of regional workshops with Association of Southeast Asian Nations States Parties, including the development of a tabletop exercise scenario. He is currently leading a study to identify assurance mechanisms to increase the degree of certainty that States Parties are meeting their BWC obligations and support BWC implementation.
Prior to joining the Center, he worked at local public health departments in Michigan and California, developing and implementing medical countermeasures distribution and dispensing exercises, updating communicable disease response protocols, conducting infectious disease surveillance and outbreak investigations, and supporting emergency preparedness activities, including returning traveler monitoring and other Ebola-related preparedness efforts. Before transitioning his career to health security, he served as the Combat Information Center Officer and Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Officer onboard the USS Lake Erie and as an auxiliaries engineering division officer and Propulsion Plant Watch Officer onboard the USS Enterprise.
Mr. Shearer earned an MPH in epidemiology from the University of Michigan in 2014 and a BS in aerospace engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 2007.