Laurie Garrett

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 in New York. 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.

Garrett is the best-selling author of The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance; Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health; I Heard the Sirens Scream: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks; and the e-book EBOLA: Story of an Outbreak. Over the years, she has also contributed chapters to numerous books, including: AIDS in the World; Disease in Evolution: Global Changes and Emergence of Infectious Diseases; Controversies in Globalization; Practicing Sustainability; How Did This Happen: Terrorism and the New War; Beyond Humanitarianism: What You Need to Know About Africa and Why It Matters; Health and Development; and most recently To Save Humanity: What Matters Most for a Healthy Future.

A native of Los Angeles, Garrett 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 Leonard Herzenberg. During her PhD studies, she started reporting on science news at radio station KPFA, winning the 1977 George Foster Peabody Award. She worked briefly in the California Department of Food and Agriculture, assessing the human health impacts of pesticide use.  Garrett 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 as the network’s science correspondent. During her NPR years, Garrett received outstanding achievement awards from the National Press Club, San Francisco Media Alliance and World Hunger Alliance.

In 1988, Garrett left NPR to join the science and foreign desks of Newsday. Her Newsday work earned numerous awards, including the Award of Excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists (1989); Deadline Club of New York: Best Beat Reporter (1993); First Place from the Society of Silurians (1994); Bob Considine Award of the Overseas Press Club of America (1995); and George C. Polk Award (1997, 2000). Garrett was three times a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism, and received the Pulitzer in 1996 for her coverage of the 1995 Ebola epidemic in Kikwit, Zaire. She has also written for many publications, including Foreign AffairsEsquireVanity 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 NightlineNewsHour with Jim LehrerThe Charlie Rose ShowThe Oprah Winfrey ShowDatelineThe International Hour (CNN), and Talkback (CNN). Among her most recent awards for her global health work executed while at the Council on Foreign Relations are the 2014 NYU School of Medicine “Outstanding Contributions to Global Health,” and the 2015 Internationalism Award from the American Women for International Understanding.

Garrett has been awarded four honorary PhDs from Wesleyan University (Illinois), the University of Massachusetts (Lowell), Georgetown University, and the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine.

The Human Microbiome and the Health of Individuals and Their Environments

The last decade has witnessed a shift in scientific perspective, driven by biologists' newfound ability to rapidly sequence the genetic blueprints of ecologies ranging from the human gut to Arctic permafrost. A global scale change to microbiomes, which are the aggregate of microorganisms such as bacteria, that inhabit the human body and all other environments, is underway, with deleterious effects on the world in which we live. Although the urgency of this situation is gravely understood by microbiologists, it is little known or understood by the general public or political leaders. From a foreign policy point of view, my interest is in considering how changes to microbiomes may serve as "canaries in the coal mine" for climate change impact, and how essential planetary functions may be altered by substantial microbiome damage. Are such transnational impacts subject to treaties, regulation, or global action? Can recognition of microbial impact provide a new political dimension to the global climate debate, and urgency for action given recognition that there are links to human health? My work on these issues will result in a book. I also convene the Human Microbiome and the Health of Individuals and Their Environments Roundtable Series to discuss these questions.

Ebola Outbreak

The current Ebola epidemic, which began in March 2014 in Guinea, has been described as spiraling out of control by the World Health Organization, and is expected to persist well into 2015. The strain of virus claiming lives today is the same one that first emerged in 1976, in the Congo rainforest, an outbreak about which I wrote in my book, The Coming Plague. I was also awarded a Pulitzer Prize in journalism in 1996 for my coverage of the Ebola epidemic in Kikwit, Zaire—which was also chronicled in my book Betrayal of Trust—and have been providing analysis and insight into the current outbreak, primarily through op-eds and magazine articles, and also through media appearances.

Addressing the Last Mile Issues of Universal Health Coverage

The United Nations (UN) is currently creating a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals that is to expire at the end of 2015. Among the seventeen SDGs, Goal Three focuses on health: “Ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” While advocates are jockeying for the inclusion of a number of specific health targets in SDG Goal Three, achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) leads the list of potential sub-goals. Indeed, because progress toward UHC seeks to ensure affordable and quality healthcare for everyone, it is considered central to reaching the SDG goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. In order for the negotiations to move forward in a constructive and efficient manner, it is imperative that the involved parties gain a clear understanding of the critical issues surrounding the UHC concept. Co-directed by me and my colleague Yanzhong Huang, the Project on Addressing the Last Mile Issues of Universal Health Coverage will hold three roundtable meetings and produce several briefing papers to address pertinent issues related to UHC as they are brought up in UN meetings. Two roundtable meetings have been held in New York, with the first focusing on the cost of providing UHC and the second on the role of human resources in implementing UHC.

This project is made possible through the support of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Featured Publications

All Publications


AIDS at 30: Getting Policy and Funding Right

Speaker: Laurie Garrett

On the heels of the 30th anniversary since AIDS was recognized, the UN General Assembly will meet to discuss the next course of HIV/AIDS funding. CFR Senior Fellow for Global Health Laurie Garrett traces the initial failures to contain the spread of AIDS, and calls on international policymakers to adequately fund the combat of the deadly disease.

See more in Health Policy and Initiatives; Diseases, Infectious; Global

Interview Laurie Garrett interviewed by Toni Johnson

With food prices at historic levels, unrest is mounting around the world, particularly in import-dependent regions such as the Middle East. CFR's Laurie Garrett says to meet demand going forward, countries will need to enhance food production and efficiencies.

See more in Food Security; Global



Addressing global health emergencies: lessons from AIDS to Ebola, Zika, and other emerging epidemics

Laurie Garrett moderated the panel, "Addressing global health emergencies: lessons from AIDS to Ebola, Zika, and other emerging epidemics" at the 2016 UNAIDS High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS. The lively discussion focused on lessons learned and how these can contribute to strengthening health systems and community responses, as well as long-term sustainable investments in services and research. 


Radio Interview

New Jersey Lassa Fever Death Reveals Holes In Ebola Monitoring System

Laurie Garrett spoke with Jason Beaubien for NPR's Morning Edition to discuss the case of a man died in New Jersey of a hemorrhagic fever this week. She speculates that "if this had been an Ebola case, if the individual had gone to a hospital and not acknowledged that he'd been in Liberia and it had turned out to be Ebola, that would indeed have been a major failure of the screening system and potentially very dangerous to his health care providers."


Radio Interview

Global Health Expert In San Diego To Discuss Lessons From Ebola Outbreak

Laurie Garrett appeared on KPBS Midday Edition with Maureen Cavanaugh to discuss her visit to San Diego State University, which comes as the World Health Organization continues to treat Ebola patients in West Africa. The virus has so far killed more than 10,500 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.


Radio Interview

Ebola Being a "Mystery Disease" Led to High Amount of Fear

On this River to River segment, aired on Iowa Public Radio, Ben Kieffer talks with Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague and most recently, Ebola: Story of an Outbreak, about "over the top" media reactions to outbreaks.


Radio Interview

New Concerns About Fighting Malaria

A new study has detected a resistant strain of malaria in Myanmar near the Indian border, raising concerns that resistance could soon extend its hold to sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 90 percent of malaria deaths occur. Laurie Garrett appeared on The Diane Rehm Show to discuss new concerns about combating malaria worldwide.


Radio Interview

Anti-vaccination: Not just a U.S. phenomenon

Laurie Garrett appears on WBEZ Worldview to discuss the recent outbreak of measles in the United States, and explains why anti-vaccine movements aren't uniquely American.


Radio Interview

Measles Starts a Comeback…at Disneyland

Fifteen years after measles was declared eradicated in the United States, more than 70 people have come down with the disease — an outbreak that started at Disneyland. Laurie Garrett appears on a panel on KCRW's To The Point with host Warren Olney to discuss how this outbreak started and what it indicates about vaccination rates.


Video Interview

Liberia and Guinea meet key targets in Ebola fight as Sierra Leone lags

The World Health Organization reported that both Liberia and Guinea have hit key health targets by isolating Ebola patients and safely burying victims. Even so, the fight to end Ebola is far from over. Judy Woodruff talks to Laurie Garrett on PBS NewsHour about why some Ebola treatment centers are empty and why money pledged to end the outbreak hasn’t materialized.


Radio Interview

Ebola epidemic continues

Although some in Liberia are now referring to Ebola in the past-tense, the epidemic looks likely to continue past its ninth month. Laurie Garrett just returned from Sierra Leone and Liberia, and she appears on WBEZ's Worldview to give an update on what the epidemic looks like now.



Why Wasn't the WHO Ready for Ebola?

Laurie Garrett is quoted in this article for explaining the economic and political factors that led to the World Health Organization's botched response to the Ebola outbreak.

Radio Interview

Talking all things Ebola with Laurie Garrett

For the Humanosphere podcast, Tom Paulson talks with Laurie Garrett about Ebola. This Ebola outbreak is unprecedented in size and scope, and Garrett was among those warning early days that this outbreak deserved a massive and rapid response from the international community.


Radio Interview

Laurie Garrett on Ebola

Host Carol Castiel speaks with Laurie Garrett on Voice of America's Press Conference USA about the initial failures of the international community in detecting and stopping the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. Laurie discusses the causes of the slow response, and the various political, cultural, and social factors that may inhibit efforts by the United States, the UN and others to contain the epidemic.


Radio Interview

The Race to Contain, Rather Than Cure, Ebola

This week Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, passed away. A Dallas-area hospital initially turned him away, and his death has raised questions about what might have happened if he had been diagnosed and admitted to the hospital sooner. As healthcare workers are forced to wait for symptoms of Ebola to materialize before they can treat patients, Laurie Garrett argues on Science Friday that rapid diagnostic testing tools could be a game changer in this ongoing outbreak.


Radio Interview

What America Must Do To Stop Ebola, Now

Ebola reports every day now, from West Africa and well beyond. The Spanish nurse in trouble. An American cameraman being treated in Nebraska. The first case that walked into an American hospital, Thomas Duncan, dead today, in that hospital in Dallas. Is America ready for Ebola? The CDC says we'll stop it in its tracks. But 80 percent of American nurses surveyed last week said their hospitals have not taught them about it. Laurie Garrett joins Tom Ashbrook on WBUR's On Point to discuss these issues.


Video Interview

How vulnerable is America to Ebola?

Forty-one percent of Americans have little to no confidence that the government can prevent a major Ebola outbreak in the United States. NBC's John Yang and Sarah Dalloff report the latest on the Ebola patients being treated in the United States on MSNBC's The Cycle. Then, Laurie Garrett talks about the challenges of stopping Ebola in a globalized world.


Video Interview

What needs to be done to stop Ebola?

Laurie Garrett and Frankie Edozien talk about the challenges with dealing with the Ebola crisis in West Africa and what needs to be done to stem the crisis on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show.


Video Interview

Ebola in danger of never going away?

As Americans process the news about an American photojournalist contracting Ebola and the reality that the disease has made its way to U.S. shores undetected, is Ebola in danger of becoming a normal disease in West Africa? NBC's Mark Potter, Laurie Garrett, and Frankie Edozien, director of the Reporting Africa Program at NYU's Journalism School, discuss with Dorian Warren on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show.


Video Interview

How Bad Can Ebola Get?

On Charlie Rose The Week, Laurie Garrett talks about the recently diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States, and why everyone should be far more concerned about the continued, exponential spread of the disease in Africa.


Video Interview

Ebola Crisis

On Charlie Rose, a conversation with Dr. Jon Lapook of CBS News, who looks at the Ebola crisis with Laurie Garrett, Bryan Walsh from Time magazine, and William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University.


Radio Interview

As Ebola Reaches U.S. Shores, Will the Virus Spread Across America?

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that Ebola has reached the shores of the United States. A Liberian man who traveled from his home country to visit relatives in Dallas, Texas late last month has been diagnosed with the deadly virus.

On The Takeaway with John Hockenberry, Laurie Garrett explains how likely the virus is to spread, and how the CDC and the WHO are handling the outbreak.



Colonial Lines Drawn Again for Ebola Aid

Laurie Garrett is quoted in this Foreign Policy article about foreign assistance to West Africa to fight Ebola, saying what's happened is a dangerous neocolonial organization of aid and going down that path could get donors into sticky situations if the virus can't be controlled.

Radio Interview

Ebola - The Worst Case Scenario?

Laurie Garrett appears on CBC's Quirks and Quarks, expressing her fears that we're paying the price now for gutting our international public health capacity with cuts to the World Health Organization. The promise of a massive effort by many countries in West Africa may be too little, too late, to prevent the worst case scenario of a complete breakdown of social order and devastation to a whole region of Africa by this terrible disease.


Radio Interview

This Ebola Outbreak 'Has Broken All The Rules'

Laurie Garrett is interviewed by Scott Simon on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday about President Obama's financial and military commitment to fight the Ebola epidemic, and how this outbreak differs from the one on which she reported in Zaire in 1995.


Video Interview

Is Ebola response too little too late?

As the United States prepares to take the lead in the fight against Ebola, is it too little too late? Laurie Garrett from joins MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show to discuss.



Obama ramping up U.S. response in Ebola outbreak

Laurie Garrett is quoted in this Los Angeles Times, saying if President Obama had ordered an intervention in the Ebola outbreak months ago, the crisis may have been resolved by now.


Obama: Ebola outbreak demands global response

Laurie Garrett is quoted in this Politico article, discussing the logistical role military personnel will play in fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.


Obama Ebola action too little, too late?

With a pending announcement from the Obama administration about the depoyment of military personnel to West Africa, Laurie Garrett is quoted in The Hill saying, "I don't think we're even close to playing catch up, much less mount a response that will get us ahead of the virus."

Video Interview

Ebola Control and the Current Outbreak

As part of the NIH Global Health Interest Group on global health "hot topics," Laurie Garrett gives a talk on the current Ebola outbreak, and explains why this public health emergency is a national security threat. Laurie's speech begins at 2:09.


Video Interview

Is US doing enough to stem the Ebola crisis?

In this second part of a two-part segment on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show, Laurie Garrett comments on President Obama's statements about the Ebola outbreak on Meet the Press and calls for immediate action from the U.S. government.


Video Interview

The economic effects of the Ebola crisis

The Ebola crisis is now taking a considerable toll on the political stability and economic security of West Africa. Mark Quarterman, Laurie Garrett, William Karesh, and Frankie Edozien join MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show to discuss. This is the first part of a two-part segment.


Video Interview

Ebola outbreak grows more dire

With each week the news about the Ebola crisis seems to grow more dire, with the virus now having surfaced in a fifth country—Senegal. Joel Montgomery, from the CDC Ebola Response Team in Liberia and Laurie Garrett join MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show to discuss.


Video Interview

The Ebola Crisis

Even with more than one thousand people dead in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Libera as a result of the current Ebola outbreak, "The response is so anemic, so much less than what is needed," says Laurie Garrett on Charlie Rose: The Week.


Radio Interview

Can An Experimental Therapy be Used to Treat Ebola?

Two Americans received an experimental treatment after they became infected with Ebola while working with patients in West Africa. Heinz Feldmann, chief of the Laboratory of Virology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and Laurie Garrett, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, discuss how the serum works and if it should be used more widely on Science Friday.


Video Interview

Should an experimental drug be used to treat Ebola in West Africa?

The treatment of two Ebola-infected Americans with an experimental drug, Z-Mapp, raises the question of whether it has potential for widespread use in combating the outbreak in West Africa. Judy Woodruff gets perspective on the topic from two experts, Laurie Garrett of the Council on Foreign Relations and Dr. Robert Garry of Tulane University School of Medicine, on this segment of PBS's Newshour.


Radio Interview

Understanding the Deadly Ebola Virus

Laurie Garrett joins the The Diane Rehm Show with Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health; Daniel Lucey, Georgetown University Medical Center; and Billy Fischer, University of North Carolina School of Medicine to discuss the worst Ebola outbreak in history.


Radio Interview

Ebola Is Spreading: Can It Be Contained?

Almost 700 people have died, and more than a thousand have been infected, in the worst epidemic since the Ebola virus was discovered in 1976. Laurie Garrett appears with Clair MacDougall; William Fischer, University of North Carolina; and Jeremy Youde, University of Minnesota at Duluth to examine this a massive challenge to the global effort to protect public health.


Video Interview

Nightly News with Lester Holt

Laurie Garrett appears in a segment on NBC's Nightly News with Lester Holt to discuss the broader political implications of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, including what would happen if the disease spreads to Senegal or Nigeria. Segment begins at 4:26.


Video Interview

Death toll for Ebola outbreak growing

The death toll for the Ebola outbreak is steadily growing in West Africa. Laurie Garrett from the Council on Foreign Relations, Steve Monroe from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tarik Jasarevic, spokesperson for the World Health Organization, join MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show to discuss.


Video Interview

What we should know about the Ebola outbreak

The current Ebola outbreak in cities in Western Africa has become the most infectious, most deadly Ebola outbreak in history. Laurie Garrett joins the table on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show to discuss.


Video Interview

Fear works against health workers trying to contain Ebola

The latest Ebola outbreak in West Africa is now the largest and deadliest outbreak ever. And unlike outbreaks of the past, it is affecting both rural and urban areas. On PBS NewsHour, Jeffrey Brown talks to Laurie Garrett about a recent summit on the outbreak, distrust building against health workers in infected areas and how porous borders make this outbreak so hard to contain.


Video Interview

Directing Evolution

In this talk at TEDxDanubia in Budapest, Laurie Garrett examines the three major revolutions in biology: synthetic biology, gain-of-function research, and metagenomics. She then asks if humanity has the proper procedures in place to prevent or to control a direction evolution mishap.


Radio Interview

What's stopping some Pakistani parents from letting their children be vaccinated?

In a segment on PRI's The World, Laurie Garrett welcomes the White House's pledge to stop using fake vaccination campaigns in CIA tactics. She also gives historical background and analysis behind this decision, and on why some residents of Pakistan are still hesitant to let their children get vaccinated against diseases like polio.


Video Interview

The Rise in Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

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.


Video Interview

Ebola Hunt Draws U.S. Team Searching for Disease Carriers

Laurie Garrett is quoted in this article for 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.


Video Interview

Global Health Law – A Book Event

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.


Video Interview

Problems Persist at Fukushima

After visiting Fukushima in December 2013, Laurie Garrett reports in 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.


Video Interview

Measles legacy of disgraced doctor

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."


Video Interview

The Taliban Are Winning the War on Polio

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.


Video Interview

Contagion discussion

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?"


Video Interview

Does mankind need to get serious about global threats?

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.


Video Interview

Laurie Garrett – "Biology's Brave New World"

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.


Video Interview

Understanding Typhoon Haiyan

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.


Video Interview

Biosecurity for the Age of Redesigned Life

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.


Video Interview

The Next Bioweapon May be a Text File

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.


Video Interview

Security Lags Behind Biotech Advancements

In an interview with John Hockenberry for WNYC's the Takeaway, Laurie Garrett discusses the advent of 4D printing and synthetic biology, as well the disconnect between security and science.


Video Interview

Biological Attack

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.


Is President Obama serious about chemical weapons?

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."

Chemical weapons are a nightmare for Syrians

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."

Existential Challenges to Global Health

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.

Cosmic Queries: Viruses, Outbreaks and Pandemics

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.

SARS-Like Virus a Threat to Muslim Pilgrims

Laurie Garrett is quoted in this article from the Wall Street Journal's India Realtime Blog, discussing how India can best prepare its Muslim community for the hajj given the threat of MERS-CoV.

The Middle East Plague Goes Global

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.

That's not me in Dan Brown's 'Inferno'

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 .

Zombie Apocalypse (Part 2)

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.

Why MERS virus is so scary

Laurie Garrett explains why World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan is correct in warning the world of the dangers of MERS-CoV in this op-ed for CNN Opinion.

The Big One?

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.

Hopes and Fears in China Bird Flu Battle

In this video clip and accompanying article from Voice of America, Laurie Garrett connects the lessons learned from the swine flu panic in 2009 to today's outbreak of H7N9.

China's bird flu mystery

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.

Cause for Concern Beyond China?

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.

Is China getting better at handling epidemics?

In this blog post, Lily Kuo draws a comparison between today's outbreak of H7N9 and the SARS outbreak of ten years ago. She quotes Laurie Garrett as saying that the difference is a stark one.

Beijing Prepares for Avian Flu

Laurie Garrett offers advice to residents of Shanghai and other Chinese cities who may be concerned about the spread of H7N9 in the last paragraph of this article from Businessweek.

China Bird Flu

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.

Is This a Pandemic Being Born?

In this article for Foreign Policy, Laurie Garrett looks at possible connections between China's recent mysterious pig, duck, and people deaths, and then explains why this should worry us all.

Great Decisions

In this interview with Great Decisions on PBS, Laurie Garrett discusses the connection between public health and national security and draws lessons from the post-9/11 anthrax attack.

After 9/11, Health Lessons Ignored

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.

Terrorist Threats, Past and Future

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.

HIV at 50+

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.

Ebola in Uganda

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.

HIV at 50+

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.

Dual Uses for Avian Flu Research

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.

Researchers at Annual Science Fest Hail Universal Vaccines

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.

15 Minutes with Laurie Garrett

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.

Drug Safety Crisis

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.

FDA Maps Out Global Strategy

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.

Why the Global Health Council Folded, and What's Next

Laurie Garrett is quoted in this Devex article about the demise of the Global Health Council and the future of global health funding. In it, she argues that a leadership void caused the GHC's failure.

Building the Perfect Bug

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.

Universal Health Coverage: The Future of Healthcare Reform?

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.

Can New World Bank Leader Heal the World?

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.

Rep. Lowey Stands Up for Global Health R&D; highlights economic boost to NY

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.

Global Health Research and Development in New York

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.

Global Health Funding Crisis Hits UN Work

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.

H5N1, The "Public," and Public Health

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.

Building the Perfect Bug

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."

America is Stealing the World's Doctors

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.

Grounds for Concern: the Case of H5N1

Laurie Garrett participated in a panel discussion on concerns surrounding dual use research that was hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences.

Biosecurity Panel Chief Voices Mixed Reaction to WHO Meeting

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.

Bird Flu Pandemic: How the Virus Mutates

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.

Bird Flu Pandemic: How the Virus Mutates

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.

How Secure are Labs Handling World's Deadliest Pathogens

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.

Debating H5N1 and Dual Use Research

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.

Flu Fighters

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.

Emotion Runs High at H5N1 Debate

Nature recaps a meeting hosted at the New York Academy of Science regarding the fate of two infamous research manuscripts. Laurie Garrett questions the purpose of the research in the first place.

Health Report

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.

Flu Researcher Ron Fouchier: 'It's a Pity That It Has to Come to This'

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.

Flu Debate Focuses on Wrong Question

This editorial from the Star Tribune discusses the bird flu publication controversy and credits Laurie Garrett on her astute analysis of the issue as it relates to bioterrorism threats.

Flu Research: A Deadly Balance

Laurie Garrett points out the need for high-level security in laboratories containing the deadly new H5N1 strain in a quote in this article from the Economist.

Guest Post: Laurie Garrett on Man-Made Deadly Flu

Laurie Garrett appeared as a guest writer in CFR Senior Fellow James Lindsay's foreign policy blog, with a post about the research that created a "super-flu" variant of the H5N1 virus.

Failure Is Not Acceptable on World AIDS Day--but Neither Is Staying the Course

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.

Foreigners to Foreign Policy: It's Not a Woman's World

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.

Ebola Going Airborne?

Laurie Garrett discusses the implications of the news that the Ebola virus has found a way to spread via airborne transmission among bats in a blog post.

A Crowded World: Pandemics

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.

Laurie Garrett: Reporting on Biosecurity From America to Zaire

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.

The Anthrax Files

In this hour-long episode of PBS's Frontline, Laurie Garrett appears in interviews to offer historical context about the 2001 anthrax attack.

Interview With Pat Kenny

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?

So, What Was Accomplished? The UN and NCDS

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.

Laurie Garrett on "Contagion"

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.

Journalist: Everything in "Contagion" is Based on Reality

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.

Anthrax Scare: 10 Years Later, How Prepared Are We?

Laurie Garrett discusses the process of designing the fictional MEV-1 paramyxovirus featured in the movie Contagion, as well as how science and epidemiology were used to ensure the film's realism.

How the "Contagion" Virus Was Born

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.

Could "Contagion" Event Really Happen?

Laurie Garrett, who contributed to the script of the new movie Contagion, talks with CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the likelihood of the movie's events playing out in real life.

Live Chat: Contagion and the Threat of a Viral Pandemic

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.

9/11 + Ten: From Unity to Enmity

In this interview with Mark Summer on PRX's A World of Possibilities, Laurie Garrett reflects on the enduring public health and societal impacts of 9/11, as well as her own experiences from that day.

Ten-Year 9/11 Retrospective

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.

A Look Back at 9/11 in "I Heard The Sirens Scream"

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.

Da união à divisão no pós-11 de Setembro

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.

Ten Whats With…Laurie Garrett

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.

Mass Tragedies as Public Health Events

Laurie Garrett talks with UN Dispatch about her new book, I Heard The Sirens Scream and the public health lessons that should be draw from 9/11.

The Colbert Report: Eat, Pray to Eat

Laurie Garrett explains on The Colbert Report how biofuels, natural diasaters and diseases are wiping out the global food supply and causes food prices to sky rocket.

Rachel Maddow Show: Trust, Messaging and Managing Emergencies

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.


What should scare us most about Ebola?

Laurie Garrett explains how wars and climate change affect the health of all the world's people, and that should be was scares us most about Ebola. This feature for the Globalist is based on Laurie's comments on the Diane Rehm Show, "Understanding the Deadly Ebola Virus," which aired on Friday, August 1, 2014..