Theresa “Lynn” DiFato, BSN, MPH

(Retired USAF Lt Col.)

Theresa “Lynn” DiFato is a cultivated professional who brings over 32 years of public health, infection control, and nursing experience as a contractor in the private sector and as a U.S. Air Force (USAF) veteran. She has managed a variety of military programs related to Infection Prevention and Control, Medical Surveillance, Joint Force Health Protection, and Medical Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) Defense. As a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Lynn was responsible for a wide-range of projects to support modernization and future efforts such as advanced bio-surveillance technology development and force health protection innovations including risk assessment and mitigation.

Since retiring from the USAF, Ms. DiFato has provided her expertise to the development of military operationally relevant scenarios that allowed U.S. Joint Forces Command, and subsequently Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), to objectively assess the military utility of advanced technologies and concepts of use for both immediate fielding and advanced development purposes. She also facilitates the follow-up discussions to tease out doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership, personnel, facilities, and politics associated with these efforts.

Ms. DiFato was also the Program Manager for a Veteran Affairs led effort to study innovation diffusion of advanced communications technologies in a VA Medical Center. This study assessed how the culture of the VA accepted and utilized a given technology, as well as how the technology impacted quality care, nursing time efficiency, patient flow, and patient satisfaction within the organization. This study led the way to similar efforts with the USAF and the development of proven technology implementation processes that allow more efficient and effective technology integration practices.

Ms. DiFato is a retired Air Force officer who served as the Air Force Surgeon General’s Consultant for infection prevention and control from 1997 to 2004. In that role she expanded the general thinking and tool suite of the infection preventionist from hospital oriented to globally oriented with applications such as disaster and CBRN response. These applications include the full spectrum of analytical thinking from public health surveillance, to epidemiology, to response with a focus on using a tiered and tailored approach given resource inconsistencies. In 2004, as the as Deputy Chief, Chemical Biological Material Division in the Office of the Air Force Medical Support Agency, Modernization Directorate, Ms. DiFato led the deployment of an advanced bio-surveillance system for the Military District Washington in support of events surrounding the 2005 Presidential Inauguration. This $15M project was implemented in three months and provided the largest scale up ever of micro array technology. Exploiting the Epidemic Outbreak Surveillance (EOS) concept of a transformational dual-use approach for bio-defense operations and operational medicine, the micro-array was challenged to rapidly detect and identify a wide range of pathogens and transmit data results in near-real time to a centralized, secure, data repository. Post retirement in 2005, she was invited to lead the follow-on project, Silent Guardian II, a $6M early spiral of the EOS Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). It was also used to further develop the concept through deployment of a real-time surveillance system for avian influenza and provided the military utility test environment for the EOS ACTD.

Lynn DiFato received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston U.S. Air Force.