American Society for Microbiology honors Mary J.R. Gilchrist

June 08, 2009

The 2009 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Gen-Probe Joseph Public Health Award is being presented to Mary J.R. Gilchrist, Ph.D., D(ABMM), Director, Bureau of Laboratory Science, Department of Public Health, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston. This award recognizes a distinguished microbiologist who has exhibited exemplary leadership and service in the field of public health.

Dr. Gilchrist, an American Academy of Microbiology Fellow, has spent her career educating public officials about the essential functions of public health laboratories and is dedicated to the public health of Americans. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and has been director of the microbiology laboratory at the Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, and the Veteran's Administration Medical Center, Cincinnati. She previously served as director of the Iowa Public Health and Environmental Laboratory.

While directing these major laboratories, she testified before U.S Congressional Committees on bioterrorism, emerging infections, and the public health threat of antibiotic resistance. Well before 9/11, she outlined her vision for linking all clinical and public health laboratories so that they could communicate with each other. While President of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, she worked to implement her communication plan, with Level A/Clinical labs at the base, local/state labs in the middle, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the top, with the development of the Laboratory Response Network (LRN). Her concept has been modified over time but it remains an extraordinary achievement. The LRN links labs to ensure a coordinated response to bioterrorism threats and other public health emergencies. Since its creation, the LRN has improved the public health infrastructure by boosting laboratory capacity, increased the use of advanced diagnostic technologies, and enhanced their preparedness for and response to emerging infectious disease threats and bioterrorism.
The Gen-Probe Joseph Public Health Award will be presented during the 109th General Meeting of the ASM, May 17-21, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ASM is the world's oldest and largest life science organization and has more than 43,000 members worldwide. ASM's mission is to advance the microbiological sciences and promote the use of scientific knowledge for improved health and economic and environmental well-being.

American Society for Microbiology

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