Laura B. Gieraltowski is serving as a lieutenant commander with the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) for which she is a epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Emerging and Infectious Zoonotic Diseases, Division of the Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases’ Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch (ORPB). She regularly leads teams of public health professionals in large, complex outbreak investigations of foodborne disease that often extend through multiple states and involve enteric pathogens that are responsible for 48 million U.S. cases each year. During these investigations, she serves as one of the primary CDC liaisons to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture in order to facilitate actions to protect public health, such as product recalls and consumer warnings. Over the past five years, she has led more than 80 major outbreak investigations, leading to 15 recalls of nationally distributed food products, including sprouts, chicken products, cucumbers, cantaloupes, peanut butter, spinach, beef, and the largest meat recall in U.S. history (approximately 36 million pounds of ground turkey). She serves as a nationally recognized expert on outbreaks of Salmonella illnesses related to poultry products and has been interviewed by major television and radio news outlets.
Gieraltowski joined the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) in 2009. She was assigned to the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, where she worked on a number of foodborne disease outbreak investigations both in the field and from CDC headquarters. She also worked on a safe water project in Kenya and consulted with the Thai government to evaluate and improve the country’s foodborne disease surveillance system. After completing her EIS training in 2011, she was hired as a staff doctoral epidemiologist with ORPB.
Gieraltowski earned her PhD in epidemiology in 2009 from Pitt Public Health.
Learn more about the annual Pitt Public Health Alumuni Award recognitions at www.publichealth.pitt.edu/alumniawards.