Erin Kiernon is chief of staff to Population Council president Julia Bunting and head of external relations. She oversees the Council’s external relations strategy, including branding and communications; policy advocacy and government relations; and philanthropy, provides leadership to the office of the president, and oversees the Council’s internal communications team.
Kiernon is a global leader in public health communications. Previously, she served as the Council’s director of strategic communications from 2012–2016. Prior to joining the Council, Kiernon was vice president at a health communications firm where she provided counsel to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention around major public health news, including national prevalence and incidence data on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs); national HIV and STI awareness campaigns; CDC’s international clinical trials of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention; and the nation’s first public health guidance on PrEP.
Earlier in her career, she directed media relations for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, where she oversaw pivotal media and crisis communications strategies for the organization’s headquarters and affiliates. In this role, Kiernon led the creation and implementation of media advocacy campaigns for issues including two Supreme Court cases, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood; South Dakota’s 2006 abortion ban; the development and approval of new reproductive health technologies; and pressing the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant over-the-counter access to emergency contraception. Kiernon has also provided public relations counsel to numerous health care organizations, including the California State Rural Health Association and the San Francisco Health Plan.
Kiernon holds a BA in psychology from Earlham College.