Dr. Townes received his medical degree from the University of Massachusetts and completed his internship and residency in emergency medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he also completed a fellowship in International Emergency Medicine earning a Master's Degree in Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Health Policy and Administration. He holds a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
He is currently a Public Health and Medical Technical Advisor for the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and a Medical Epidemiologist in the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch (ERRB) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In this capacity his interests and responsibilities include providing expert technical advice, formulating and conveying BHA public health policy and technical positions, reviewing health proposals submitted to BHA, and design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of BHA funded programs. Previously, he was an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer in the Malaria Branch at the CDC and served as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS).
In addition to his global health experience, he has worked extensively in the areas of wilderness and expedition medicine, including serving as an expedition physician in Antarctica, Costa Rica, and Mt. Kilimanjaro as well as a physician member of the National Ski Patrol and the Yosemite National Park Search and Rescue Team. He has worked in Antarctica, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Russia, Senegal, Tanzania, Turkey, the West Indies, and Zambia.
He is the Course Director for GH 576: Health in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies.