Professor of Medicine
Infectious Diseases

Professor of Preventive Medicine, Department of Health Policy

Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

Professional Bio

William Schaffner, MD, is a Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases within the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a Professor of Preventive Medicine in the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt.

Dr. Schaffner’s primary focus has been the prevention of infectious diseases. He has worked extensively on the effective use of vaccines and has been a member of expert advisory committees that establish national vaccine policy.

Dr.  Schaffner is committed to communicating about prevention to the general public and regards this as a teaching opportunity. He often is invited to comment in local and national media on communicable disease issues, translating research and public health events into language that the public can understand.

After graduating from Yale, Schaffner attended the University of Freiburg, Germany as a Fulbright Scholar. He graduated from Cornell University Medical College and completed residency training and a Fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt. He was commissioned in the U.S. Public Health Service as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for two years, then returned to Vanderbilt after that tour of duty and established a long collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Health and the CDC.

Dr. Schaffner is a consultant to the COVID Vaccines Work Group of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and was a member of the COVID-19 Advisory Panel of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and to two NFL teams. He is a consultant to the Federal Judiciary and has consulted with Nashville’s Board of Health on COVID policy.


MD - Cornell University Medical College - 1962