John M. Barry serves on numerous advisory boards and committees, including at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and M.I.T. He is currently a Distinguished Scholar at the Center for Bioenvironmental Research of Tulane and Xavier Universities and lives in New Orleans.
Barry is the author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, which won the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians for that year’s best book of American history. Its impact was recognized in 2006 when the National Academy of Sciences invited him to become the only non-scientist ever to give its annual Abel Wolman Distinguished Lecture on Water Resources. In 2007, a Democratic governor appointed him to two new authorities created after Katrina, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Control Authority East, which oversees most of the levee districts in the metropolitan New Orleans area, and the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which develops and implements the hurricane protection plan for the state. In 2009, a Republican governor reappointed him to both positions.
He is also the author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, named by the National Academy of Sciences 2004's best book on science or medicine. He has advised the Bush and Obama administrations, as well as other federal, state, and World Health Organization officials on influenza pandemic preparedness and response and risk communication. His articles have appeared in such scientific journals as Nature and Journal of Infectious Disease, and he has contributed regularly to the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fortune, Time, Newsweek and Esquire. He has appeared on every US broadcast network, including on such shows as NBC's Meet the Press, ABC's World News, and NPR's All Things Considered, as well as on such foreign media as the BBC and Al Jazeera.