Speakers' Bureau Directory: Burd

Eileen Burd
Degree: PhD
Employer: Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia  30322


Primary Employer: Hospital/Clinic; Other N/A
Scientific Specialty: Clinical microbiology or immunology; Other N/A
Job Title: Director, Clinical Microbiology
Years in position: 18
Presentation Type: N/A
Video Call Type:N/A
Day to day responsibilities:
My major responsibilities are to oversee a team of medical technologists in the clinical microbiology laboratory, consult with physicians and other healthcare providers, and implement tests used in the diagnosis of infectious diseases. I help the technologists to analyze test results and answer any questions related to the acceptability of patient specimens or organisms that are difficult to identify. I consult with physicians regarding ordering of appropriate tests, interpretation of test results and requests for additional tests. I need to be aware of standards, evolving technologies, and emerging infectious diseases to ensure that the practices in our laboratory are effective and as up-to-date as operating budget allows. Because I work in an academic setting, I am also involved in teaching and research as time permits.

What do you love about your job?
I enjoy working in healthcare and being part of providing a service that contributes to identifying and preventing infectious diseases. I love that every day I tangibly have a role in improving the health of patients. I love that every day is different. I love the stimulation of interesting cases, unusual organisms and new technologies. I love being part of a team and serving as a bridge between the laboratory and healthcare providers. I enjoy serving on national committees and participating in national and local meetings. I enjoy conducting research that helps to move the field forward.

Degrees, experience, license(s), and skills required for position:
A PhD or MD degree is required to be a clinical microbiology laboratory director. In addition, certification by the American Board of Medical Microbiology (ABMM) or American Board of Pathology (ABP) are required. To be eligible to sit for the ABMM exam requires completion of a two-year postdoctoral residency at a hospital that offers a program that is accredited by the Committee on Postdoctoral Educational Programs (CPEP) or three years of experience as defined by the American College of Microbiology. Eligibility for the ABP exam requires completion of a medical microbiology fellowship in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (AGCME). Important skills include the ability to solve problems, communicate effectively, and be an effective leader of a team as well as a member of a team.

Tips/Advice for how to secure a job in microbiology upon graduation:
Most people who complete the educational and post-doctoral training requirements for a career as a Clinical Microbiology Laboratory directors work in a hospital or public health laboratory. Others work in education, basic science research, or in the research and development division or in a leadership position in a biotechnology industry. Many of the available positions are posted on the Career Connections section of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) website or on the Job Center of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. Most directors of CPEP and ABP post-doctoral programs are aware of available positions and can provide further guidance.