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Global health expert to speak at Fall Arts

  • Laurie Garrett is the only person to win the three Ps of journalism � the Pulitzer, Polk and Peabody.

Posted on October 03, 2013

Whether discussing the dangers of sarin gas recently used in Syria, the anthrax attacks in the U.S. following 9/11, or emerging diseases and epidemics worldwide, the work of global health expert Laurie Garrett brings clarity to the complicated intersections of health policy, foreign policy and national security.

Garrett, the only person to win the three Ps of journalism — the Pulitzer, Polk and Peabody, will present a free public lecture as part of Grand Valley State University’s Fall Arts Celebration.

Her presentation, “I Heard the Sirens Scream,” will take place Monday, October 7, at 7 p.m., in L.V. Eberhard Center, on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. A book signing and reception will follow.

A senior fellow for Global Health since 2004, at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Garrett is particularly suited to provide an understanding of how political leaders help and hinder preparations, treatments and responses to the threats of global health. Following graduate work in immunology, and research at University of California, Berkeley, she was a postgraduate fellow in the Harvard School of Public Health.

Garrett began her journalism career at KPFA radio in Berkeley, followed by freelance work in sub-Saharan Africa. In the 1980s she was a science correspondent for National Public Radio, and during the 1990s she worked both as a science and foreign reporter for Newsday in New York.

A second Polk award was given to Garrett for her meticulously researched book, Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health. She has written two other bestselling books, The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance, and I Heard the Sirens Scream, as well as numerous essays in national publications.

Fall Arts Celebration, since its start in 2003, has featured many preeminent writers, poets, musicians, dancers, artists and scholars. The tradition continues in 2013 with signature events that aim to broaden horizons, help make sense of the new and unfamiliar, reflect on the past and charm with the classics. For more information, call (616) 331-2185, or visit,

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