David Townes
Department of Emergency Medicine
Adjunct Professor
Department of Global Health
Associate Director, Global Emergency Medicine Fellowship Program
Sites of Practice: 
Harborview Medical Center
University of Washington Medical Center

Faculty Information


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.

Education & Training: 
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Worcester, MA
Internship and Residency
Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
Chicago, IL
Fellowship, International Emergency Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
Chicago, IL
MPH: Health Policy and Administration
University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health
Chicago, IL
Royal College of Physicians, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
London, England
Mailing Address: 

University of Washington Medical Center
Magnuson Health Sciences Building,
F Wing, UW Box 357235
1705 NE Pacific Street
Seattle, WA 98195

Research & Clinical Interests
Research Interests: 

Response to complex humanitarian emergencies

Disease surveillance in humanitarian emergencies

Health policy for humanitarian emergencies

Refugee and internally displaced populations


Clinical Interests: 

Tropical medicine

Travel preparation and evaluation of the returning traveler



  1. Senior Editor, Health in Humanitarian Emergencies - Principles and Practice for Public Health and Healthcare Practitioners (textbook) published by Cambridge University Press in 2018. 
  2. Editor, Expedition and Wilderness Medicine (textbook) published by Cambridge University Press in 2009.

Peer Reviewed:

  1. Mobula LM, Nakao JH, Walia S, Pendarvis J, Morris P, and Townes DA. A humanitarian response to the West African Ebola virus disease outbreak. Journal of International Humanitarian Action. 2018: 3 (10). [Original work]
  2. Morton L, Huber C, Okoth S, Griffing S, Lucchi N, Ljolije D, Boncy J, Oscar R, Townes D, McMorrow M, Chang M, Udhayakumar V, and Barnwell J. Plasmodium falciparum drug-resistant haplotypes and population structure in post-earthquake Haiti, 2010. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. July 18 2016: 16-0214 PMID: 27430541 [Original work]
  3. Hoffman M, Pasternak A, Rogers I, Khodaee M, Hill J, Townes D, et. al.  Medical services at ultra-endurance foot races in remote environments: medical issues and consensus guidelines. Sports Medicine. 2014; 44(8): 1055-1069. PMID: 24748459 [Original work]
  4. Townes, D, Existe A, Boncy J, Magloire R, Vely J-F, Amsalu R, De Tavernier M, Muigai J, Hoibak S, Albert M, Mcmorrow M, Slutsker L, Kachur SP, and Chang M. Malaria survey in post-earthquake Haiti – 2010. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2012; 86(1): 29-31. PMID: 22232446 [Original work]
  5. Lutterloh E, Likaka A, Sejvar J, Manda R, Naiene J, Monroe S, Khaila T, Chilima B, Mallewa M, Kampondeni S, Lowther S, Capewell L, Date K, Townes D, Redwood Y, Schier J, Nygren B, Tippett Barr B, Demby A, Phiri A, Lungu R, Kaphiyo J, Humphrys M, Talkington D, Joyce K, Stockman L, Armstrong G, and Mintz E.  Multidrug-Resistant Typhoid Fever with Neurologic Findings on the Malawi-Mozambique Border. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2012 April; 54(8): 1100-1106. PMID: 22357702 [Original work]
  6. Thwing JI, Perry RT, Townes DA, Diouf MB, Ndiaye S, and Thior M. Success of Senegal’s first nationwide distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to children under five – contribution toward universal coverage. Malaria Journal. 2011; 10: 86. PMID: 21489278 [Original work]
  7. Skarbinski J, Mwandama D, Luka M, Jafali J, Wolkon A, Townes D, Campbell C, Zoya J, Ali D, and Mathanga D.  Impact of Health Facility – Based Insecticide Treated Bednet Distribution in Malawi: Progress and Challenges towards Achieving Universal Coverage, PLOS ONE. 2011; 6(7), e21995: 1-11. PMID: 21811553 [Original work]
  8. Sejvar J, Lutterloh E, Naiene J, Likaka A, Manda R, Nygren B, Monroe S, Khaila T, Lowther SA, Capewell L, Date K, Townes D, Redwood Y, Schier J, Barr BT, Demby A, Mallewa M, Kampondeni S, Blount B, Humphrys M, Talkington D, Armstrong GL, Mintz E. Neurologic manifestations associated with an outbreak of typhoid fever, Malawi--Mozambique, 2009: an epidemiologic investigation. PLOS ONE. 2012;7(12): e46099 PMID: 23226492 [Original work]
  9. Townes DA. Wilderness medicine: strategies for medical support for adventure racing. Sports Medicine. 2005; 35(7): 557-564. PMID: 16026169 [Original work]
  10. VanRooyen MJ, Townes DA, Hart RG, and Willoughby P. International health fellowship: a proposed curriculum for emergency physicians. The Journal of Emergency Medicine. March/April 1997; 15(2): 249-252. PMID: 9144072 [Original work]