Why Carbon Direct?




Zara Ahmed, DrPH

Zara Ahmed, DrPH

Head of Policy & Science Operations

Environmental Science & Policy

Dr. Zara Ahmed is a Science Policy and Strategy Manager at Carbon Direct, responsible for policy analysis.

Dr. Ahmed's primary focus is strategic planning, program development, and U.S. policy analysis.

Background & Bio

Prior to working at Carbon Direct, Dr. Ahmed was the Government Affairs and Policy Lead for the COVID-19 Response at the CDC. She rejoined CDC in August 2021 after two years at the Guttmacher Institute as the Associate Director for Federal Issues. Before her time at the Guttmacher Institute, Dr. Ahmed spent 10 years with CDC, including seven years based overseas in Rwanda, Namibia and Haiti as a senior technical advisor, and three years as the Associate Division Director for Policy and Communications in the Division of Global Health Protection at CDC headquarters in Atlanta.

Prior to her time with CDC, Dr. Ahmed worked as a sexual health counselor at an alternative high school in Michigan and as a consultant in Bangladesh on the labor rights of migrant women. Dr. Ahmed has also conducted field research on sex worker rights in Cambodia, health financing in rural Cameroon, and donor coordination of malaria programs in Senegal. She holds a BA in political science from Brown University, MPP and MPH degrees from the University of Michigan, and a DrPH from the University of North Carolina, where she is also an adjunct instructor.


PhD, Health Leadership and Management
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Michigan

BA, Political Science
Brown University


Certificate of Appreciation for Extraordinary Effort and Impact
US Embassy, Port-au-Prince (2016)

Center for Global Health Director’s Award for Partnership
CDC (2015)

Certificate of Appreciation for Exceptional Technical Support
US Embassy, Port-au-Prince (2015)