Newswise — Laurie Garrett, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist, has been named the 2021 Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Awardee by the Rutgers School of Public Health. She will serve as the School’s speaker at their 38th graduation ceremony, which will virtually launch on May 14, 2021.

Hailed as the School’s highest honor, the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Award was established in 2001 to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to public health through a significant record of advocacy, the development of programs, and capacity building that has led to expanded research, education, and service opportunities.

Garrett exemplifies these ideals through her tireless efforts as a leading scientific journalist, immunologist, and population advocate, with research focused on newly emerging diseases, bioterrorism, public health, and national security. 

Garrett is the best-selling author of four books: 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 Ebola: Story of an Outbreak. 

In 1977, Garrett won the George Foster Peabody Award in Broadcasting and her work “Crumbled Empire, Shattered Health” earned her a George Polk Award.  In 1996, Garret received the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for her reporting of the 1995 Ebola epidemic in Zaire. Garrett, the only person to win the three “Ps” of journalism - the Peabody, the Polk, and the Pulitzer - is the example of knowledge-based journalism, dedicated to educating others and positively impacting policy change. 

Garrett earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Santa Cruz. As a doctoral student in the Department of Bacteriology and Immunology at the University of California, Berkeley, Garrett began reporting science news. 

As a trained immunologist, Garrett was concerned with the prevalence of novel diseases so as a Harvard School of Public Health Fellow, Garrett worked closely with the emerging diseases group, focusing on the study of unknown or rare viruses and bacteria. Garrett’s research and career has focused on the vigilant documentation of and personal immersion into global outbreaks, such as Ebola and AIDS, and the implications of public health infrastructure.

Garrett’s work to educate the public continues through the COVID-19 pandemic as the science contributor to MSNBC and NBC News and a columnist for Foreign Policy. Garrett is a member of the Presidential Council of Advisors for the Human Vaccine Project, the World Economic Forum on Global Health Security Advisory Board, the Council of Foreign Relations, and the National Association for Science Writers. She also has a quarter of a million followers on Twitter (@Laurie_Garrett), where she actively shares breaking news, updates, and other information. 

“Garrett’s passion and commitment to the health of people and populations is clearly evident from her work as a scientist, journalist, author, and advocate” said Perry N. Halkitis, the dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health. “Notably, her ability to translate and communicate the scope and impact of epidemics, like Ebola, and more recently COVID-19, is heralded.” 

Garrett will be honored with the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Award on Friday, May 14, 2021, at the Rutgers School of Public Health’s annual graduation ceremony, where she will address graduates, faculty, staff, and guests with pre-recorded remarks.

Garrett will also receive a Honorary Doctor of Science degree at the 255th Rutgers University Commencement on Sunday, May 16, 2021.

Both ceremonies will be held virtuallay this year and will be available to the general public.

Recent recipients of the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Award include Tammy Snyder Murphy, first lady of New Jersey (2020), Mark Wade, director of the Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness (2019), and Abdul El-Sayed, doctor and civil servant (2018).  


The Rutgers School of Public Health is New Jersey’s leading academic institution in public health that is committed to advancing the health and wellbeing and preventing disease throughout New Jersey, the United States, and the world, by preparing students as public health leaders, scholars, and practitioners; conducting public health research and scholarship; engaging collaboratively with communities and populations; and actively advocating for policies, programs, and services through the lens of equity and social justice. Learn how the Rutgers School of Public Health is "keeping the ‘public’ in public health,” by visiting them at