Roberta B. Carey, Ph.D., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, has been honored with the 2013 bioMérieux Sonnenwirth Award for Leadership in Clinical Microbiology. This award, given in memory of Alexander Sonnenwirth, recognizes an outstanding microbiologist for promotion of innovation in clinical laboratory science, dedication to ASM, and the advancement of clinical microbiology as a profession. As an active member of ASM for over thirty years and a leader in her field, Carey showcases the meaning of the award.
Carey graduated from William Smith College in Geneva, NY, with a cum laude degree in biology, received a Ph.D. in microbiology from Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, New York, NY, and completed a Post-doctoral Fellowship in Clinical and Public Health Microbiology at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. She has been a diplomate of the American Board of Medical Microbiology in Public Health and Medical Microbiology since 1985.
She held the position of Technical Director of the Pediatric Microbiology Laboratory at The University of Chicago Wyler Children's Hospital; Director of Microbiology and Immunoserology at St. Francis Hospital, Evanston, IL; and Associate Professor of Pathology and Director of Microbiology at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL. As Director of Microbiology she was responsible for all facets of the diagnostic microbiology laboratory, as well as teaching medical students, infectious disease fellows, and pathology residents the practice of clinical microbiology.
In 2004, Carey joined the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at CDC as Chief of the Clinical and Environmental Microbiology Branch, with responsibility for the reference laboratory overseeing identification and characterization of staphylococci and the anaerobic bacteria, detection of antimicrobial resistance, and the investigation of healthcare associated infections. She also served as Acting Director for the Division of Laboratory Systems, which provides technical and scientific oversight for the CLIA regulations that set the federal quality standards for the nation’s clinical laboratories. She currently serves as Director of CDC’s Laboratory Quality Management Program with responsibilities for oversight of the quality management system for CDC Infectious Disease laboratories, for which she also serves as the Interim CLIA Director. In Carey’s current role as Director, colleague Brandi Limbago, says, “she has developed and implemented an innovative, organized, and efficient system for laboratories at CDC to meet their quality standards, document, and improve their testing practices, and create meaningful change that benefits both the microbiology laboratories and CDC as a whole.”
She has been a member of the interdisciplinary workgroups that wrote CDC guidelines for diagnosis of Shiga-toxin producing E. coli and prevention of early-onset group B streptococcal infections. Currently she is serving as a member of the workgroup creating guidelines for Campylobacter Best Practices for Clinical and Public Health laboratories.
In 1984, Carey began her service to ASM as a member of the Manpower Planning Committee, and has held numerous positions in the society including Council Policy Committee member, Division C chair, and Division I Group representative. She was responsible for the 1999 and 2004 ASM benchmarking surveys for workload and vacancy in clinical microbiology laboratories and currently serves as the editorial board member to the critically acclaimed Lab Tests Online. According to her nominator, Vickie Baselski, University of Tennessee, Carey “is extremely dedicated to ASM with diverse activities including program planning, editorial board membership, time on the PAC of the PSAB as well as the CCCLW.” In addition to being a sought after lecturer, Carey also co-authored the 2008 textbook, “Medical Microbiology for the New Curriculum: A Case-Based Approach.”