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Senior Vice President, and Director, Global Health and Science Team
Ellen is Senior Vice President and Director of the Global Health and Science Team, where she manages a team of nine people based in three locations in the US and in Nairobi, Kenya. Her two decades of experience with US and global nonprofits spans subjects that include malaria, trachoma, agricultural research, forestry protection, childhood immunization, and homelessness. She has led strategic communications campaigns for clients that include UNICEF, The Rockefeller Foundation, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She has released seminal reports and written and produced collateral material on a range of issues including binge drinking on US college campuses, risk behaviors of adolescents, and intellectual property rights, and staged media events in cities that include Johannesburg, Amsterdam, São Paulo, Rome, London, and Spitsbergen, Svalbard in the Arctic Circle (for the opening of the “doomsday seed vault”).
She has led an eight-year media campaign to brand malaria and the need for malaria vaccines in Africa on behalf of the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, helping this group to leverage research results of key malaria vaccine candidates for policy and funding impact. In addition, she has provided communications counsel for the Global Crop Diversity Trust since its founding. This communications work has played a central role in the Trust's evolution from an unknown group founded around an obscure cause, to an organization that in 2008 attracted $100 million in funding in pursuit of a mission that now has been featured prominently in every major media outlet in the world.
Prior to joining Burness, Ellen worked at a public relations firm that represented American University, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and civil rights organizations. Ellen earned a bachelor's degree in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She lives with her husband and two sons in Chevy Chase, Maryland.