Senior Fellow for Global Health
Global health systems; chronic and infectious diseases; bioterrorism; public health and its effects on foreign policy and national security.
Since 2004, Laurie Garrett has been a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York. Ms. Garrett is the only writer ever to have been awarded all three of the Big "Ps" of journalism: the Peabody, the Polk, and the Pulitzer. Her expertise includes global health systems, chronic and infectious diseases, and bioterrorism.
Ms. Garrett is the best-selling author of The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1994) and Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health (Hyperion Press, 2000). Over the years, she has also contributed chapters to numerous books, including AIDS in the World (Oxford University Press, 1993), edited by Jonathan Mann, Daniel Tarantola, and Thomas Netter, and Disease in Evolution: Global Changes and Emergence of Infectious Diseases (New York Academy of Sciences, 1994), edited by Mary E. Wilson. Her latest book is I Heard the Sirens Scream: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks.
She graduated with honors in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She attended graduate school in the Department of Bacteriology and Immunology at University of California, Berkeley, and did laboratory research at Stanford University with Dr. Leonard Herzenberg. During her PhD studies, she started reporting on science news at KPFA, a local radio station. The hobby soon became far more interesting than graduate school, and she took a leave of absence to explore journalism. At KPFA, Ms. Garrett worked on a documentary, coproduced with Adi Gevins, that won the 1977 George Foster Peabody Award.
After leaving KPFA, Ms. Garrett worked briefly in the California Department of Food and Agriculture, assessing the human health impacts of pesticide use. She then went overseas, living and working in southern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, freelance reporting for Pacifica Radio, Pacific News Service, BBC Radio, Reuters, Associated Press, and others. In 1980, she joined National Public Radio, working out of the network's San Francisco and, later, Los Angeles bureaus as a science correspondent. During her NPR years, Ms. Garrett received awards from the National Press Club (Best Consumer Journalism, 1982), the San Francisco Media Alliance (Meritorious Achievement Award in Radio, 1983), and the World Hunger Alliance (First Prize, Radio, 1987).
In 1988, Ms. Garrett left NPR to join the science writing staff of Newsday. Her Newsday reporting has earned several awards, including the Newsday Publisher's Award (Best Beat Reporter, 1990), Award of Excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists (for "AIDS in Africa," 1989), Deadline Club of New York (Best Beat Reporter, 1993), First Place from the Society of Silurians (for "Breast Cancer," 1994), and the Bob Considine Award of the Overseas Press Club of America (for "AIDS in India," 1995). She has also written for many publications, including Foreign Affairs, Esquire, Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Current Issues in Public Health. She has appeared frequently on national television programs, including ABC's Nightline, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, The Charlie Rose Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline, The International Hour (CNN), and Talkback (CNN).
Ms. Garrett is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and served as the organization's president during the mid-1990s. She lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York.
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CFR Senior Fellow for Global Health and author of I Heard the Sirens Scream: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks.
The ease and availability of global travel brings the threat of widespread contagion ever closer to reality. From time to time one of those diseases takes hold – bird flu, SARS and more recently, MERS, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. In a conversation with Dr. Norman Swan, host of Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Health Report, and Gareth Williams, professor of medicine at the University of Bristol, Laurie Garrett answers the question, "How much of a threat do such epidemics actually pose and how prepared are we for a plague?"
In a conversation with BBC Future at the Atlantic Meets the Pacific festival, Laurie Garrett discusses her fears that humanity is taking a lackluster approach to facing up to the problems of the future. From newly emerging diseases to lethal and drug-resistant strains of familiar plagues, Garrett believes people have become overly complacent about some of the biggest threats to life on Earth.
Laurie Garrett talks with Tavis Smiley on the Tavis Smiley Radio Show about her Foreign Affairs essay of the same title, which says the practice of synthetic biology holds great promise for humankind—it could lead to anything from cleaner water to a cure for cancer. But unchecked, it could also lead to Armageddon.
This interactive map visually plots diseases that are easily preventable by inexpensive and effective vaccines. The Global Health Program at the Council on Foreign Relations has been tracking news reports on these outbreaks since the fall of 2008.
"I Heard the Sirens Scream: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks" was awarded both Gold (Science) and Silver (Current Affairs) medals in the national eLIT Awards competition in May 2012.
See more at Laurie Garrett's personal website, lauriegarrett.com.