Dr. Susan L. Santos, an internationally recognized expert in risk communication, is founder and principal of FOCUS GROUP, a consultancy specializing in risk communication, community relations, and health and environmental management. Dr. Santos combines her extensive research and hands-on technical experience to aid an impressive list of federal, state and local government agencies, and private sector clients with strategic design, comprehensive implementation, and expert evaluation of health, safety and environmental risk communication and community involvement programs.
Dr. Santos is involved in a number of risk and crisis communication projects such as:
Dr. Santos has extensive experience as a risk communication practitioner participating in hundreds of public meetings, hearings, citizen briefings, and workshops on behalf of government, industry, and citizen groups.
Dr. Santos designs and facilitates a wide variety of risk communication and crisis media training seminars. Program evaluations consistently reveal high marks for Dr. Santos as instructor, and effective communicator whose grasp of technical information and real work experiences creates a comprehensive learning experience. She is also an expert in providing real-time crisis and risk communication support and has been acclaimed for helping companies and agencies weather the demands of the media and internal and external stakeholder groups.
Dr. Santos serves as a Board Member on The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice. She is also a member of the IOM’s Environmental Health Roundtable, and serves on the Technical Advisory Committee to support the Environmental Health Tracking Network for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Center for Environmental Health.
In addition to managing FOCUS GROUP, Dr.Santos is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University School of Public Health. Dr. Santos also serves as Assistant Director for Risk Communication and Education for the VA’s War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, located in East Orange, NJ. Dr. Santos’ research activities include exploring perceptions of deployment related health risks, communication of vaccine related risks, developing educational materials for veteransand healthcare providers on exposures of concern and medically unexplained symptoms, developing ways to communicate the results of complex health studies to communities and evaluation of public involvement and risk communications programs.
Dr. Santos has an interdisciplinary doctorate degree in risk communication and public policy from Northeastern University’s Law, Policy and Society Program. She received her graduate degree in civil engineering and public health from Tufts University, and her undergraduate degree in chemistry and sociology from Boston College. She is listed in Who’s Who Among Women in Science, and the recipient of a German Marshall Fund Fellowship Award, two NASA Group Achievement Awards and a Women Owned Business of the Year Award for her consulting assistance to NASA. Dr. Santos has published widely in the areas of risk communication, and management, and is a member of the Society for Risk Analysis, American Public Health Association, Public Relations Society of America and International Association for Public Participation.