Winner of the 2014 Gen-Probe Joseph Public Health Award is James Pearson, Dr.P.H., Virginia Division of Consolidated Lab Services, Richmond, VA. Given in honor of J. Mehsen Joseph, who dedicated his life toward the advancement of microbiology and public health, this award acknowledges a microbiologist who has shown exceptional leadership and service to both fields.
Pearson received his B.S. in bacteriology from North Dakota State University and his M.P.H. and Dr.P.H. in Public Health Laboratory Practice from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. From 1979 until 1992, he served in various capacities in the North Dakota Department of Health, eventually becoming the Director of the Consolidated Laboratories Branch. In 1992, he moved to the Virginia Department of General Services where he served for 20 years as the Deputy Director for Laboratories and Director of the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services before his retirement in 2012. Harvey Holmes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says, “During Pearson’s tenure, he was instrumental in the strategic planning and national advocacy for the development of the Laboratory Response Network (LRN), which provides an infrastructure for integrating the public health efforts of federal, military, veterinary, and law enforcement laboratories.” As co-chair of the LRN Steering Committee, he was involved in developing and applying microbial methods, and in providing training, and testing support to many detection and surveillance programs— including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Currently, he continues to serve on numerous advisory committees concerned with emergency response and emerging infectious diseases.