J. Stephen Morrison

James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professor

Fast Facts

  • Senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Founder and director of CSIS Global Health Policy Center
  • Director and producer of The New Barbarianism, an award-winning documentary about the surge of violence against the health sector


Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • World Happenings
  • Domestic Affairs
  • Health
  • Science and Technology

J. Stephen Morrison is a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C., where he founded and directs its Global Health Policy Center. A political scientist, he has built over the past two decades a highly dynamic and impactful program that concentrates on the geopolitical and national security dimensions of U.S. leadership in international health, with a special emphasis upon the centrality of bipartisanship and multilateral institutions, partnerships with private industry, foundations, advocates and the faith community, and long-term strategic planning and commitments.

Through a series of high-level commissions that he has created and directed, Morrison has spearheaded work that has shaped concrete decisions in Congress and the administration on HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, reproductive health and gender equality, immunizations, and health security, including pandemic preparedness, acceleration of technological innovations, and coping with anti-science and a polluted digital world. The ongoing CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security is addressing the consequences of Covid-19 and the future of U.S. leadership in building better capacities, at home and abroad, against future pandemic threats.

For several years, Morrison has led global health security fora at the annual Munich Security Conference. He has also directed and produced documentary films, most notably The New Barbarianism, an award-winning examination of the surge of violence against the health sector, with original footage from Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. He is currently completing a five-part docuseries, The Pandemic Paradox: HIV on the Edge, a critical look at sustaining progress against this 40-year old pandemic, in the midst now of Covid-19. In 2020, his podcast series, Coronavirus Crisis Update, featured more than 70 episodes with a highly diverse array of prominent leaders.

J. Stephen Morrison News Feed

Long recognized as the nation’s leading public health institution and widely respected around the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently seen its reputation shaken and its performance compromised. As a result, public trust in the institution has eroded‌. Amid that backdrop, we recently conducted an independent and bipartisan investigation of the C.D.C.’s pandemic preparedness and response during the Covid-19 pandemic. And we concluded that the agency needs a serious reset — urgently so. The health and resilience of the country hangs in the balance.
J. Stephen Morrison The New York Times
At the one-year mark of Russia’s deadly war in Ukraine, the Miller Center partners with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Virginia Film Festival for a screening of Ukraine: The Human Price of War, a series of short documentary films about the war. A panel including humanitarian and military experts from CSIS, a leader from the United States Agency for International Development, and a public health expert joining live from Ukraine together discuss the human consequences of the war for Ukrainians, the direction the conflict is heading, and the prospects for diplomacy moving forward.
J. Stephen Morrison Miller Center Presents
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed significant weaknesses in U.S. global health security policy and infrastructure, leading to crises on several fronts. The Miller Center’s new Health Care Policy Project joins Stephen Morrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)—also the Miller Center’s James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professor—along with Tom Inglesby and Anne Zink for a timely and important conversation about what lies ahead for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In January 2023, the CSIS’s Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security released a compelling report, Building the CDC the Country Needs, which examines why the CDC is essential to protecting the health of Americans and highlights the peril the agency currently faces. Three years into the pandemic, what is the way forward to improve the CDC’s performance and restore the trust and confidence of the American people?
J. Stephen Morrison Miller Center Presents
The CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security presents Ukraine: The Human Price of War, a short documentary series examining the shocking attack on the country and whether Russian President Vladimir Putin and his armed forces will continue their past behavior in Syria and Chechnya - targeting civilian populations and infrastructure - including the medical sector. Our exploration includes voices of Ukrainians on the ground and leading experts on security, humanitarian issues and international law. Ukraine: The Human Price of War is the fourth collaboration between CSIS Senior Vice President J. Stephen Morrison, and Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist Justin Kenny (Small Footprint Films). Their first CSIS GHPC feature film, The New Barbarianism (2017), was awarded the Best Documentary prize at the LA Film Festival, aired on PBS, and was featured in the Christian Science Monitor, PBS NewsHour, and PBS’s Story in the Public Square.
J, Stephen Morrison CSIS
A panel of professors and researchers discussed the pandemic’s impact on public health policy Wednesday, the first undertaking of the Miller Center’s Health Care Policy Initiative. The event included discussion about the legacy of COVID-19 in the U.S., how the Biden administration is dealing with the ongoing pandemic, the relationship between pandemics and foreign policy and how individuals can deal with uncertain public health measures as mask mandates are lifted around the country.
J. Stephen Morrison The Cavalier Daily
In early March, the White House unveiled its new coronavirus response strategy aimed at creating what some are calling the beginning of a “new normal” in the nation’s fight against COVID-19. As the Omicron wave continues its decline and several states loosen pandemic-related restrictions, our experts are having a “state of the pandemic” discussion that will assess the rapidly shifting public health approach, what the U.S. role will be in the global efforts to deal with COVID, and what we might expect in the months ahead.
J. Stephen Morrison Miller Center Presents