Two new revolutions in biology—gain-of-function research and synthetic biology—are forcing policymakers to rethink current national and international surveillance and regulatory systems, and any resolution will require international buy-in since the threat entails all living organisms.
Medicines are increasingly the product of complex supply chains, introducing vulnerabilities to their reliability and safety. CFR Senior Fellow Laurie Garrett lays out how G8 and G20 nations can help to remedy the drug safety crisis.
Laurie Garrett and El'Haum Alavian discuss the challenge, for the world's richest nations, of assisting emerging economies in their transition to self-reliance in obtaining public goods, and finding solutions that guarantee equitable access to health for the entire family of nations.
An e-newsletter produced by CFR's Global Health Program looking at the Obama administration's Global Health Initiative, the swine flu backlash, and the dangers ahead for Haiti, as well as a number of other timely issues.
Authors: Kammerle Schneider and Laurie Garrett Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine
Kammerle Schneider and Laurie Garrett argue that "there is a need to return to the foundations of the Alma Ata Declaration signed thirty years ago with the goal of providing universal access to primary healthcare."
Director: Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health January 18, 2013—Present
The Dual-Use Research: Repercussions for Security roundtable series examined issues of dual-use research of concern, synthetic biology, do-it-yourself biology, and international governance and oversight. These meetings brought together experts in the fields of synthetic biology dual-use research, and laboratory safety and regulation, to broaden the debate beyond the controversy surrounding the publication of two H5N1 flu-transmission studies in 2011–2012 and to discuss various aspects of the dual-use research of concern conundrum.
This roundtable series is made possible by the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Staff: Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health April 29, 2010—December 31, 2010
In collaboration with the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Global Health Program at CFR helped create the UNAIDS High Level Commission on HIV Prevention. The commission was supported by a Scientific Advisory Panel chaired by Laurie Garrett, which provided intellectual leadership and scientific backing. The goal of the commission and scientific advisory panel was to advance the "prevention revolution" called for by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé and provide a road map for generating the necessary political will at the highest levels to overcome the cultural, gender, and resource barriers to reaching zero new HIV infections.
The call for a "prevention revolution" comes amid three major changes that have occurred in the last year in the HIV pandemic: the global financial crisis has slowed the rate of growth in support of HIV treatment costs for poor countries, raising concern that continued expansion of the global epidemic will outstrip donor support of treatment; changes in U.S. foreign assistance programs have placed greater emphasis on disease prevention and program accountability; two dramatic research breakthroughs have demonstrated that it is possible to slow the spread of HIV sexually through use of a new formulation of vaginal microbicides, and through daily oral dosing with anti-HIV drugs. Combined, these changes mean that preventing further expansion of the global pandemic is imperative, and it is possible.
For ten months the scientific panel, chaired by Laurie Garrett, analyzed evidence for new strategies to control HIV, presenting the Commission with the Declaration and Statement for its approval. Commission cochairs--both Nobel laureates--Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Rev. Desmond Tutu, will now lead the commissioners on a global HIV prevention campaign.
The declaration and statement below, written by Laurie Garrett and the Scientific Advisory Panel, were released on December 1, 2010, World AIDS Day, and call on world leaders to act swiftly and accelerate the decline in new HIV infections and spark the prevention revolution.
Director: Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health October 16, 2009—New York, NY
On August 24, 2009, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its "Report to the President on U.S. Preparations for 2009-H1N1 Influenza," predicting, among other things, that the H1N1 (aka "swine flu") pandemic would resurge in North America in September, peaking by mid-October, causing infection and illness to up to half the U.S. population before the end of 2009. The PCAST assessment also suggested that H1N1 vaccines would not be available for the general public until well after the mid-October peak, and the epidemic would surge so rapidly that it could overwhelm hospitals, medical supplies, and intensive care units, leading to as many as 90,000 deaths in the U.S. The predicted surge held special significance for schools, parents, and employers, as sick-outs and school closures could impact productivity. Despite months of preparation, supplies of vaccines, medicines, and protective gear were expected to be inadequate, and global competition for essential tools for pandemic control and treatment would be fierce. One billion doses of H1N1 vaccine were ordered from several pharmaceutical companies, and the bulk of that supply was prioritized for ten wealthy nations, particularly the U.S. Little, if any, vaccine, medicine, or protective gear was expected to be ready, affordable, and distributed for the bottom four billion poorest people on Earth.
The CFR meeting was convened at the predicted peak of the North American pandemic. Will the PCAST model have proven correct? Looking forward, what can be scientifically forecast regarding shifts in the virology and epidemiology of the H1N1 pandemic? What are the economic and financial impacts of the outbreak? What have been, and can be predicted to be, the foreign policy implications of the pandemic and related competition for medical and public health tools?
Director: Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health June 12, 2008
In 2006, CFR Senior Fellows Isobel Coleman and Laurie Garrett launched the CFR Maternal Health Program to raise awareness and suggest policies that would help improve maternal survival worldwide. With the generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the CFR Maternal Health Program convened a symposium on June 11 and 12, 2008, in Washington, DC, and New York entitled, "Rethinking Maternal Health." The symposium examined issues surrounding maternal health in the context of U.S. foreign assistance. A summary of the symposium is available below.
Staff: Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health May 1, 2007—June 30, 2009
The Series was developed with the global public health practice at McKinsey & Company.
The goal of the series is to examine proven technologies that are known to be life-saving, but are not yet in widespread use in poor countries. A number of questions will be discussed, including: What are the barriers to ubiquitous use? What controversies surround them? Are there specific funding issues in Congress or in the Executive branch that currently make support for these efforts difficult, or impossible? Are there domestic political issues in the U.S. that limit their application? Are there reasons that desirability of these innovations is limited, on the ground in target countries? Are there novel ways to overcome current barriers to implementation, including different economic models?
A CFR general meeting and four roundtables will take place throughout spring and summer of 2007 where medical technologies such as male circumcision, HPV vaccine, eyeglasses, HIV vaccine, and sterile syringes will be discussed.
Director: Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health November 16, 2005
This day-long conference, which was held at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, examined preparedness and planning efforts in the United States as the world faces the possibility of an influenza pandemic caused by H5N1, the avian flu virus.
Peter Piot, Director, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Author, No Time to Lose: A Life in Pursuit of Deadly Viruses, Michel Sidibe, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations
Universal Health Coverage: The Future of Healthcare Reform?
Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations, Daniel Altman, Director, Thought Leadership, Dalberg Global Advisors, Alexander S. Preker, Head, Health Industry and Investment Policy Analysis, World Bank Group
Yanzhong Huang, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations
Caroline Smith DeWaal, Food Safety Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Aline Plançon, Head of INTERPOL-IMPACT Project and Head of Medical Products Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime Unit (MPCPC), INTERPOL, France, Michael Robach, Vice President, Corporate Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs, Cargill, Inc., Greg Simon, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Policy, Pfizer, Inc.
Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations
Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy: Foreign Policy
Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations
John Lange, Senior Program Officer for Developing-Country Policy & Advocacy, Global Health Program, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Former Special Representative on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, U.S. Department of State, Helen Branswell, Medical Reporter, The Canadian Press
Maternal Health and Foreign Policy Symposium, Session 2: Finding Solutions
Allan G. Rosenfield, Dean, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations
Mary Robinson, President, Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globalization Initiative; Professor in the Professional Practice of International Affairs, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; former Pres
James F. Hoge Jr., Peter G. Peterson Chair, Editor, Foreign Affairs
Anthony S. Fauci, Director, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rita Colwell, Chair, Royal Institution World Science Assembly's Pandemic Preparedness Project, Michael Osterholm, Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota; Associate Director, National Center for Food Protection, Department of Homeland Security; Professor, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations
Laurie Garrett is quoted in this article for Bloomberg.com about the most recent outbreak of Ebola that has killed at least 87 people in Africa, discussing how stigma and fear can exacerbate the spread of this deadly disease.
Deadly childhood diseases once thought eradicated are making a comeback around the world. In some places, it's polio, where violence, religion and political paranoia have caused a drop in vaccinations. In the US, it's measles, where some parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children. Laurie Garrett appears on a panel discussion on To The Point with Warren Olney to discuss these outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Laurie Garrett appeared on a panel at Georgetown Law School with Zeke Emmanuel and Edith Brown Weiss on major challenges to global health. The panel marked release of Lawrence Gostin's new book Global Health Law published by Harvard Press.
After visiting Fukushima in December 2013, Laurie Garrett reports in ForeignPolicy.com that 250,000 tons of radioactive soil is sitting in plastic bags around the nuclear plant, and explains that Japan does not know what to do with it.
In an article for the Sunday Times, Laurie Garrett discusses the legacy of the discredited research by Andrew Wakefield, and how the Council on Foreign Relations' map of vaccine-preventable outbreaks suggests, "where Wakefield's message has caught on, measles follows."
After the tragic reappearance of polio in Afghanistan's capital city, Kabul, Laurie Garrett and Maxine Builder explore how Taliban plots to obstruct polio vaccinations could derail many hard-fought gains in global health and development.
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.
In this discussion on Fareed Zakaria's Fareed Zakaria GPS with Stephen Flynn, founding director of the Center for Resilient Studies at Northeastern University, Laurie Garrett discusses why the impact of Typhoon Haiyan was so deadly.
In this panel discussion on NPR's Science Friday, Laurie Garrett discusses the foreign policy implications of recent advances in synthetic biology. With the conversation focused on the iGEM competition, she praises the organization's emphasis on bioethics, but adds that one cannot assume those ethics will be translated to adult-run labs around the world.
Laurie Garrett, in an interview for WIRED, discusses dual-use research of concern and synthetic biology, emphasizing the point that scientists should not be left to their own devices, free from regulation and oversight.
In this article for Foreign Policy, Laurie Garrett examines the recent reports of two polio cases in Syria, which has not reported a case since 1999, and explains why polio is coming back from the brink of eradication.
In this op-ed for Politico, Laurie Garrett argues that before any missiles are launched by the Obama administration, several crucial diplomatic steps need to be taken to ensure that the use of chemical weapons doesn't become the region's "new normal."
Laurie Garrett explains what makes sarin gas dangerous to humans and reviews the chemical's deadly history in this op-ed for CNN Opinion. She then discusses the potential political implications of sarin's usage in Syria, concluding that "the Assad regime is playing with regional fire."
In a chapter for United Nations Development at a Crossroads, published by New York University's Center on International Cooperation, Laurie Garrett outlines five existential challenges facing global health today, writing that leaders and institutions that are key to global health have barely recognized these threats, much less developed policy solutions or adaptations.
In this episode of StarTalk Radio, Laurie Garrett talks with Neil deGrasse Tyson and comedian Chuck Nice about current outbreak of H7N9 and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus. She also answers questions from callers about a fungus that turns ants into zombies, pathogens that spread via rain, and the dangers of the anti-vaccine movement.
There is a new, and dangerous, coronavirus taking hold in Saudi Arabia, just as six million religious pilgrims are about to descend on the country from around the world. Without a more transparent international research and information-sharing system, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) could spread far beyond the bounds of the region for which it is named.
In this op-ed for CNN, Laurie Garrett discusses what it's like to read a bestselling novel only to find that the villain, "is, gulp, an awful lot like yourself," and debunks some of the global health myths in Dan Brown's Inferno .
In this podcast from the Star Talk Radio Show, zombies take a back seat to real life viral threats, thanks to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Laurie Garrett. She describes how governments and viruses don't mix, from the ongoing Russian biological warfare apparatus to terrorists targeting polio aid workers in response to CIA activities to the SARS outbreak and its fatal cover up by the Chinese government.
Laurie Garrett offers a detailed account of how the H7N9 virus emerged and describes the two possible paths it may now follow, by pulling from her own experiences in the SARS epidemic ten years ago and reflecting on parallels between the two.
In a post for Fareed Zakaria's CNN GPS blog, Laurie Garrett gives a summary of the information released to date by Chinese health and agricultural authorities regarding the H7N9 outbreak, and then offers her analysis on the situation.
Laurie Garrett discusses the concerns that the new flu emerging in China could become a global problem with Marco Werman on PRI's "The World." This link features both the radio edit and the extended interview.
Laurie Garrett talks with Voice of America's Sarah Williams about the possibility that the recent deaths of pigs, ducks and swans in China may be related to a new strain of bird flu, H7N9 in this radio interview.
Laurie Garrett gave a talk at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she touched on a variety of current public health problems, ranging from 9/11 to antrax attacks and outbreaks of SARS, bird flu, and swine flu. This article from the Harvard Gazette summarizes the discussion.
This Health Affairs review of Laurie Garrett's book I Heard the Sirens Scream: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 Attacks gives a comprehensive summary, calling it an "outstanding, readable chronicle."
Laurie Garrett appeared on WBEZ Chicago's Afternoon Shift as part of an hour-long program about the science of infectious diseases to discuss emerging diseases, the factors that lead to outbreaks, and the importance of public health.
Laurie Garrett discusses the deadly Ebola outbreak in Uganda on Canada's CBC Radio program, As it Happens. In an interview, Garrett describes the nature of the virus and what its like to witness an Ebola outbreak first hand, reflecting on her time in Zaire during the Ebola epidemic of 1995.
Laurie Garrett moderated this panel at the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC. Doctors, researchers, and international policymakers discussed the implications of a growing HIV population over 50 years of age and what is required in order to address the new challenges in this aging population, in regards to medicine as well as research and policy.
Charlotte Howard of the Economist interviewed Laurie Garrett about the controversial bird flu (H5N1) research conducted by Dr. Ron Fouchier at the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands. Garrett discusses the contention surrounding duel-use research and the lack of international consensus regarding research regulation.
Forbes summarizes the discussion held during a public health panel, "Pandemic Fix: Seeking Universal Vaccines," at the fifth World Science Festival in New York. Laurie Garrett, alongside leading vaccine researchers and public health scientists, anylzed the public and scientific community's preparedness to deal with emerging viruses, discussing the challenges of immunization campaigns and government intervention.
Lab Matters, a quarterly publication of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, published this Q & A in which Laurie Garrett talks about what keeps her motivated to continue investigating daunting public health issues as well as her opinions on the government's role in global health initaitives.
In a Saturday Extra radio interview, Laurie Garrett argues that we are losing the integrity of the drug, medicine, and vaccine supply of the world because of rapid globalization without proper regulation.
Laurie Garrett is quoted in an article in the Lancet commending the FDA's step forward in creating a global strategy for greater drug safety. The FDA acknolwedged that border inspection is no longer sufficient in the face of unprecendented international importation.
This video documentary and accompanying article analyze the H5N1 virus and examine what might happen if the virus transmuted into a human-to-human virus. In an interview, Laurie Garrett voices her criticism of dangerous research projects that turn these hypothetical mutations into laboratory reality.
Laurie Garett, economist Daniel Altman, and Alexander S. Preker of the World Bank discussed the potential benefits of universal health coverage as well as the challenges that hinder countries from achieving it during a special meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations.
In an interview with Medscape Medical News, senior fellow Laurie Garrett comments on the appointment of Dr. Jim Yong Kim as the next leader of the World Bank, saying he has much to learn in the ways of economics and multilateral politics.
This article in Science Speaks recounts the Research!America meeting in New York attended by global health professionals and congressmen. At the meeting moderated by Laurie Garrett, Representative Nita Lowey discussed the implications of deep slashes in public spending for global health initiatives. Garrett points out the direct impact on New York City, which is home to seven of the top fifty global health research institutions and 80,000 jobs in the global health sector.
Laurie Garrett moderated a panel at a Research!America meeting on global health research and development in New York on April 9, 2012. Panelists included respresentatives from Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative North America, SUNY Downstate AIDS International Training and Research Program, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, and Pfizer.
In this article in the Interdependent, Laurie Garrett is quoted describing the impact of the 2008 recession on global health funding and the resultant emergence of innovative public-private health partnerships.
Laurie Garret presents on H5N1 and the threat it poses to public health at The Royal Society in the UK. In her talk, Garrett uses frightening case studies from countries around the world to underscore the scale of the crisis.
This episode of Foreign Correpondent is an investigative report on avian flu and dual-use research of concern, Laurie Garrett appears to give historical context as well as her own opinion on the threat of this, "bird flu mutant."
In this article in the New York Times, Laurie Garrett discusses America's position to "cherry-pick" the world's most talented medical professionals and the impact it has on the medical workforce in poorer countries.
In this CIDRAP News article, Laurie Garrett speculates on the degree of consensus between participants at a WHO meeting on the moratorium on H5N1 research, suggesting that it may have been overstated by the multilateral organization following the meeting.
In an ABC News story about the controversial research surrounding the H5N1 virus, Laurie Garrett speaks on the side of the skeptics, stating her concern about the existence of this dangerous man-made strain.
Health Diplomacy Monitor article on "The Case of the H5N1 Papers" that outlines the controversy surrounding dual-use research, Laurie Garrett highlights the lack of consensus regarding appropriate government action.
In an article by CBS News announcing the upcoming WHO meeting scheduled to end the debate over the controversial bird flu research, Laurie Garrett shares her concerns about the possibility of the research getting into the wrong hands.
Laurie Garrett is quoted in this Reuters article exploring the safety requirements that restrict laboratory experiments with the world's deadliest and infectious viruses and whether these labs are really as secure as we think they are.
Laurie Garrett, in an appearance on a panel at the New York Academy of Sciences to discuss H5N1 and dual-use research of concern, questions why these experiments were done on ferret models to begin with if the animals have little value for predicting virulence in humans.
Laurie Garrett, along with Michael Olsterholm of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity and W. Ian Lipkin, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, discusses her position in the H5N1 dual-use research debate in this video from a panel discussion at the New York Academy of Sciences.
This article in Discover Magazine summarizes the meeting held at the New York Academy of Sciences that discussed whether the controversial H5N1 researchers should be allowed to fully publish their findings. Laurie Garrett provides background information critical to understanding the issue.
CIDRAP News provides a detailed summary of the debate surrounding the H5N1 research papers at the New York Academy of Science last night. In a brief interview, Laurie Garrett sheds more light on the issue.
In an article from Foreign Policy recounting the controversy attached to the H5N1 research conducted by two different research teams, Laurie Garrett discusses the security threat such research poses if it gets into the wrong hands.
Norman Swan from Radio International interviewed Laurie Garrett about the deadly H5N1 virus, the threat it poses to human beings, and the consequences that could result when researchers tinker with it.
In an interview, Ron Fouchier, who led the controversial H5N1 research project at the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, comments on the international debate his research has sparked. He mentions the need to cooperate and engage in dialogue with experts, including Laurie Garrett, because of the impact they have on Washington.
In this blog post, written on World AIDS Day, Laurie Garrett points out the myriad of problems plaguing current funding for and governance of AIDS programming. She implores the global health community to radically change strategies and tactics to account for the realities of the current situation.
This article from the Daily Muse examines why women only make up 21% of policy-related positions in America, with Laurie Garrett cited as a role model for successful women in foreign policy. She is also quoted about her frustrations with gender discrimination in the field.
Laurie Garrett appears on Australia Brodcasting Network to discuss the role of zoonotic illnesses in the spread of diseases, particularly influenza, as well as what can be learned from epidemiological history to prevent future pandemics. She also discusses how this scientific knowledge was applied to the movie Contagion.
In this interview with the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Laurie Garrett discusses her inquiry into the anthrax mailings of 2001 and the importance of looking critically at the government's response to that crisis in order to improve future reactions.
In advance of giving a public lecture at NUI Maynooth in Ireland, Laurie Garrett was interviewed by Pat Kenny about her book I Heard the Sirens Scream, answering the question: ten years on, what was has the impact of that tragedy been on the people of New York?
This blog post from Laurie Garrett criticizes the Declaration of the United National High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases as being too polite, saying the document does not addess the real culprits behind chronic diseases. She concludes that the global health movement has lost its way and urgently needs to readjust.
In this radio interview, Laurie Garrett uses the fictional story of Contagion as a springboard to discuss the likelihood of a worldwide influenza epidemic along with current concerns with the global governance in terms of epidemics.
Laurie Garrett appeared on MSNBC with Thomas Roberts to discuss the film Contagion, as well the possibility of a widespread epidemic similar to the one in the film and what individuals can do to prevent such an occurrence.
In this clip from CNN NewsRoom, Laurie Garrett discusses the gap between global threats and global governance, as well as what broader public health lessons she wants viewers to take away from the movie Contagion.
In this episode of KPCC's The Madeline Brand Show, Laurie Garrett analyzes the government's response to the anthrax attacks of 2001, including the impact of the $60 billion of federal funds spent on domestic biodefense efforts.
Laurie Garrett and neurologist W. Ian Lipkin discuss with Science magazine the reality of bioterrorism and biodefense, as well as their role in writing the script of the Steven Soderbergh's new movie, Contagion.
Pacifica Radio reflects on the ten years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Laurie Garrett, along with other witnesses and public figures, talk about the events and consequences of that fateful day.
Approaching the tenth anniversary of 9/11, NPR's Ira Flatlow interviewed journalist Laurie Garrett about her new book, I Heard the Sirens Scream, which recounts her investigation of America's response to the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Brooklynite Laurie Garrett relates her 9/11 story after having witnessed first hand the devestation of the terrorist attacks in this video for the Portuguese-lanugage Público Mais. Garrett discusses the resulting public health nightmare and the eerie effect it had on the nation's psyche.
Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Micah Zenko interviewed Laurie Garrett about her current projects, what she sees as the most pressing—and least pressing—threats to U.S. national interests, as well as how she started her career in global health.
In a one-on-one interview on the Rachel Maddow Show, Laurie Garrett discusses the health challenges resulting from the collapse of nuclear reactors in Japan and what the Japanese government can learn from the mistakes made by the American government after Hurricane Katrina.
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.
Laurie Garrett appeared on PBS's NewsHour to discuss the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, and why Doctors Without Borders is calling the spread of this disease, "unprecedented."
Map: Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks
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.
More About Laurie Garrett
"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.