Detection Branch Chief and BioWatch Program Manager, OHA
As program manager for the BioWatch system, Dr. Michael Walter supports the Department’s efforts to protect the nation from, and prepare federal, state and local governments to respond to biological attacks.
Working with lab, field, public health, law enforcement, and emergency management personnel, Dr. Walter assists federal, state, and local governments from across the country in developing and testing response measures to biological attacks, tailored to specific local mission needs.
In addition to directing operation of the current BioWatch system, Dr. Walter also oversees the testing of new technology called Gen-3, which is designed to collect and analyze air samples in the field, allowing for earlier detection of select pathogens.
Initiated in the wake of the anthrax attacks 10 years ago, BioWatch is a federally-managed, locally-operated nationwide biosurveillance system designed to detect the release of aerosolized pathogens. BioWatch supports special events including the Super Bowl, presidential inaugurations and national party conventions.
Dr. Walter is credited with improving BioWatch’s operational capabilities in several respects, including increasing collaboration among federal, state and local partners and providing the program’s local personnel with the tools they need to optimally prepare for and respond to bio-events.
The Office of Health Affairs (OHA) serves as the DHS’s principal authority for all medical and health issues. OHA provides medical, public health, and scientific expertise in support of the DHS mission to prepare for, respond to, and recover from all threats.