Nancy Aossey // On the Front Lines of Disaster: Building Resilient Communities

Nancy Aossey FlyerMarch 11, 2014 — In recent years, International Medical Corps has been a first-responder to the Indian Ocean tsunami, Haiti earthquake and Japan earthquake and tsunami. Today it is one of the few organizations working inside Syria and Libya.

Working on the frontlines of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters, International Medical Corps President and CEO Nancy Aossey and her colleagues were in Rwanda as the genocide unfolded, treating patients amid unimaginable brutality; in Somalia at the height of the civil war and famine, training local health workers amid the chaos; and in the Balkans during the ethnic cleansing, establishing emergency medicine and ambulance infrastructure. In this talk, Aossey shared stories and lessons learned from nearly three decades of responding to emergencies, training local health care workers and preparing communities to respond to future shocks. This approach of training and building long-term resilience, even in disaster zones, was viewed as impossible 30 years ago when International Medical Corps launched its first mission. Today, it is the model, accepted as a culturally appropriate, economically efficient and politically stabilizing way to deliver humanitarian assistance worldwide. This lecture was co-hosted by the USC Institute for Global Health and International Medical Corps.


Nancy Aossey

President & CEO
International Medical Corps

In her 28 years as President & CEO of International Medical Corps, the Los Angeles-based humanitarian organization, Nancy Aossey has led the effort to save lives and train health care workers in areas hardest-hit by natural disaster, conflict and disease.

Aossey joined International Medical Corps as its startup CEO, shortly after its founding in 1984. Since then, International Medical Corps has responded to most of the major disasters of the last 30 years, including the genocide in Rwanda, ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosovo, conflict in Darfur, the Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in the U.S., the earthquake in Haiti, the Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the conflict in Syria.
With a staff of 4,500 and thousands of volunteer doctors and nurses, Aossey has transformed International Medical Corps into a preeminent first-responder and development organization, delivering $1.5 billion of assistance and training to millions of people in 70 countries.

Aossey has testified before Congress, briefed the White House, and appeared in the major media, including Good Morning America, CNN’s Larry King Live, NPR, the LA Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. She received the UCSF Medal in recognition of her humanitarian contributions, and accepted the UC Berkeley Public Health Organizational Hero Award. She also was honored with the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Leadership Excellence Award, as well as its Non-Profit CEO of the Year/Women Making a Difference Award.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Aossey serves on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Council on International Policy and Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah’s Jordan River Foundation/USA, as well as the Advisory Board of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy.

A resident of Santa Monica, Aossey was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and holds an MBA from the University of Northern Iowa.