Alice Schauer Weissfeld, Ph.D., Microbiology Specialists Incorporated, Houston, Texas, has been honored with the 2013 ASM Founders Distinguished Service Award for her over thirty years of service to ASM. Weissfeld’s nominator, Vickie Baselski, University of Tennessee, says “having trained at Baylor College of Medicine with Robert Williams, and mentored early by Alex Sonnenwirth, it was inevitable that she would be as professionally committed to ASM as these "founding fathers" of clinical microbiology were. While inevitable, it was a commitment never taken lightly as Alice has been a tireless volunteer.” With over two dozen ASM activities listed on her CV, clearly this holds true.
Weissfeld earned her doctoral degree in microbiology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Public Health and Medical Laboratory Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine. In 1984 Weissfeld co-founded a reference laboratory, Microbiology Specialists Incorporated, where she is currently the President, CEO, and Laboratory Director. “Despite her very demanding position, Weissfeld has given her time and most notably, her expertise, with no expectations for anything in return except to fulfill the goals of ASM,” explains Betz Forbes, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center.
For over thirty years Weissfeld has been a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Microbiology. In 1986 she was elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology. As part of her service to ASM she has been a member of the Committee of Public Service and Adult Education Affairs, Texas Branch, Professional Affairs Committee, and Committee on Laboratory Practices in Microbiology. She is currently a member of ASM’s new Professional Practice Committee and Chair of its Subcommittee on Evidence-based Medicine. This project is a collaboration between ASM and the CDC which uses a transparent, methodical, and robust method for determining laboratory medicine best practices. Mark LaRocco, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, is a co-member with Weissfeld on the Evidence-based Medicine Subcommittee. He says, “Weissfeld was instrumental in forging ASM's partnership with CDC in this very important project. In fact, her vitae is replete with examples where she has represented ASM's interests in numerous national laboratory professional advisory committees, task forces and governmental initiatives involving public health, biosafety and national rule making for clinical laboratory testing.” Weissfeld was also ASM delegate to the United States Pharmacopeia Convention for the 2005-2010 term and continues in this role.
Not only has Weissfeld served on many ASM committees, she is an author of the last 3 editions of Bailey and Scott’s Diagnostic Microbiology, an editor of the Clinical Microbiology Newsletter and a past chair of both the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Accreditation Committee of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and ASM’s Professional Affairs Committee. Weissfeld is a past laureate of two other ASM awards, the ABMM/ABMLI Professional Recognition Award (1999) and the bioMérieux Sonnenwirth Award for Leadership in Clinical Microbiology (2004).
She has worked toward ASM’s educational mission as a frequent contributor to ASM programs including many brutal workshops and "Sunrise Sessions". She has worked on issues relating to certification, and on workforce issues through the Professional Affairs Committee where she led the development of an important "benchmarking survey".