Tim Jones Honored With National Pumphandle Award
NASHVILLE – Tim Jones, MD, has been named the 2017 recipient of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ Pumphandle Award. Jones serves as Tennessee state epidemiologist and assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health Communicable and Environmental Disease and Emergency Preparedness, or CEDEP division.
The CSTE Pumphandle Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of applied epidemiology, is aptly named as a reminder of an 1854 effort to prevent the spread of cholera in London, England. Physician John Snow, attempting to find the source of a cholera epidemic, removed the pumphandle from a well he believed was providing contaminated drinking water. His simple action saved numerous lives.
“We are very fortunate to have a clinical and scientific leader of Tim’s caliber at the helm of our infectious diseases and emergency response ship at TDH,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Not only is he exceptionally deserving of this prestigious recognition but he has shared his expertise and shepherded the careers of many others in our public health enterprise that further magnify his impact.”
Jones has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, works as a reviewer for 29 journals and serves on the editorial board of five journals, including as chairman of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. He has held multiple leadership positions with CSTE, including service as president in 2013–2014, has testified before the U.S. Congress, and has served on numerous national advisory committees for the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
As state epidemiologist and assistant commissioner for CEDEP, Jones oversees a staff of more than 200 public health professionals and manages a budget greater than $200 million, including 28 federal grants. He has been a subject matter expert and consultant on foodborne disease to the World Health Organization, has worked as an on-site CDC advisor in numerous countries and served as the Polio Eradication Project Consultant for the Republic of Yemen. He was named the “Public Health Worker of the Year” in Tennessee in 2005 and received the Tennessee Public Health Association Dr. William Schaffner Public Health Hero Award in 2016. He also practices as a volunteer physician and serves as chairman of the Board of Directors for Siloam Family Health Center, a non-profit, faith-based indigent care clinic in Nashville.
Jones received his medical degree from Stanford University and completed postgraduate training in family medicine and maternal-child health. He cared for underserved populations as a family practitioner in Salt Lake City, Utah before joining the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service in 1997, assigned to the Tennessee Department of Health. He led an investigation into a cluster of LaCrosse encephalitis cases which eventually helped identify a new carrier for the disease, the Asian tiger mosquito. Following this effort, he joined the Tennessee Department of Health as a general medical epidemiologist and directed the FoodNet active surveillance program. Within two years he was promoted to deputy state epidemiologist and has served as the state epidemiologist in Tennessee since 2007. In 2012 he was promoted to assistant commissioner.
Jones has worked with numerous multistate outbreaks and epidemics including the emergence of West Nile Virus, the H1N1 influenza pandemic, fungal meningitis, Ebola, Zika virus and many others, resulting in recalls, reduced poor health and countless lives saved.