Monday, October 17, 2022

Christine Petersen, professor of epidemiology in the University of Iowa College of Public Health and director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at Iowa, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).

Christine Petersen
Christine Petersen

Election to the academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Petersen is one of 100 new members elected in 2022.

Petersen is internationally known for her work on the recognition and prevention of zoonotic diseases, or infections that spread between people and animals. Her work has focused particularly on visceral leishmaniasis, a neglected tropical parasitic disease that kills 20,000-40,000 people every year, and tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease. In addition, she collaboratively works on malaria, Brucella canis, influenza, and other diseases. She teaches joint medical, veterinary, and global public health coursework related to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of zoonotic diseases within all populations. 

UI members of the NAM

François Abboud
E. Dale Abel
Ted Abel
Nancy Andreasen
Joseph (Jody) Buckwalter
Kathleen Buckwalter
Kevin Campbell
John Colloton
Susan Curry
Bruce Gantz
James Merchant
Jeff Murray
Jennifer Niebyl
Corinne Peek-Asa
Debra Schwinn
Val Sheffield
Richard Smith
Robert Wallace
Ronald Weigel
Michael Welsh

As director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (CEID), Petersen brings together interdisciplinary teams focused on research and training in cross-cutting emerging infectious diseases, particularly those that are zoonotic. The center is operated by faculty from the University of Iowa and the Veterinary College at Iowa State University. CEID has earned a national reputation for excellence in zoonotic disease research in areas of vector-borne disease, anti-microbial resistance, and environmental, occupational, and wildlife exposures to infectious diseases.

“Dr. Petersen’s outstanding work in zoonotic diseases is vital to better understanding how we can improve health outcomes by recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, and the environment, a concept known as ‘One Health,’” says Edith Parker, dean of the UI College of Public Health. “I’m delighted that her accomplishments and leadership have been recognized by the National Academy of Medicine and congratulate her on this honor.”

New NAM members are elected by current members through a process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health. A diversity of talent among NAM’s membership is assured by its Articles of Organization, which stipulate that at least one-quarter of the membership be selected from fields outside the health professions—for example, from such fields as law, engineering, social sciences, and the humanities.

Petersen received a DVM from Cornell University and completed a PhD in immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard University. She was on the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University before joining the University of Iowa in 2013.

She is a Fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization focused on global health and tropical medicine. Petersen currently serves as ASTMH’s Scientific Program chair. She is also a standing member of the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccines Against Infectious Diseases grant-review study section and has served as president of the American Council for Molecular, Cellular and Immunoparasitology.

Petersen is an editor for PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Infection and Immunity, and PLoS Pathogens, and is the American/non-endemic region representative to Leishvet, an international veterinary group that provides recommendations regarding treatment and prevention of leishmaniasis.