Our Staff | Board of Directors

Aysha Akhtar

M.D., M.P.H., Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Ex Officio Board Member

The serious stuff:

Aysha Akhtar, M.D., M.P.H., is a double-board certified neurologist and preventive medicine specialist, with a background in public health, and is a U.S veteran. Previously she served as Deputy Director of the U.S. Army Traumatic Brain Injury Program developing the Army’s brain injury prevention and treatment strategies for Soldiers. As a Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Dr. Akhtar frequently deployed to assist with national public health emergencies.

For a decade, Aysha was a Medical Officer at the Food and Drug Administration, most recently in the Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats, implementing studies on vaccine effectiveness and safety and using her Top Secret Security Clearance to develop national preparedness strategies for public health threats. She is published in peer-reviewed journals including Lancet, Pediatrics, Journal of Public Health Policy, and Reviews in the Neurosciences.

Aysha is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. She is the author of the two books, Our Symphony With Animals. On Health, Empathy and Our Shared Destinies and Animals and Public Health, which argues for the need for health institutions to include animals as part of the “public” in public health. Aysha is a TEDx speaker.

The fun stuff:

Aysha loves to cook and especially to eat! She holds elaborate dinner parties with friends and family and creates her own signature drinks. She is also an avid artist and gardener. She and her husband Patrick have created a garden sanctuary for all kinds of critters, including: Raphael (a very demanding crow), Junior (a rather messy squirrel), Marge Simpson (a mourning dove who uses the birdbath as her personal spa) and Josephine (a sweet, shy deer). Aysha’s favorite way to spend the weekend is to laze under a tree in her garden reading a sci-fi or horror book, in the company of a cat or two, hearing Patrick nearby whistling away as he stakes up the flowers. Aysha and Patrick live in Maryland with their two beloved felines, Nessie Petunia-Monster and Tumbles Gremlin (yes, she hopes to one day write and illustrate children’s books).

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