2010 Robert M. and Mary Haythornthwaite Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series
Risk Models and Policy Development in Prevention of Foodborne Diseases
October 29, 2010
College of Engineering
Foodborne illness remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. An initial reduction of cases seen in the 1990’s in association with implementation of new regulatory systems has subsequently leveled off. In seeking to better understand factors underlying current disease trends, and to better assess the public health impact of these cases, we and others have worked on development of risk models for foodborne illness. Our group, as part of the Food Safety Research Consortium, has developed the Foodborne Illness Risk Ranking Model (FIRRM), which looks at a variety of potential public health impacts of food pathogen combinations. While the model has a number of strengths, it is limited by the availability of certain key data. Development of a rational national policy for prevention of foodborne disease will require significant investment in these and other risk models, to understand reasons for current trends, to serve as the basis for development of new regulatory approaches, and to appropriately target government spending on foodborne illness.
JOHN GLENN MORRIS, JR., M.D., M.P.H.&T.M.
Director, Emerging Pathogens Institute
Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases)
University of Florida
Dr. Morris is Director of the newly established Emerging Pathogens Institute (EPI) at the University of Florida, Gainesville. From 2000-2007 he served as Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore (UMB), and from 2005-2007 was interim dean of the UMB School of Public Health. He has received his MD degree and a master’s degree in public health and tropical medicine from Tulane University, New Orleans. He served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer in the Division of Enteric Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta from 1979-81. He is board-certified in both internal medicine and infectious diseases. Dr. Morris has authored over 60 textbook chapters and symposium proceedings and over 180 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He has had continuous federal grant funding since 1984; his scholarly contributions were recognized by election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 1996. He has served on four National Academy of Sciences expert committees dealing with food safety, and currently serves on the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board. Dr. Morris maintains an active research program in the area of emerging pathogens and enteric diseases, including ongoing work in India and Bangladesh. He also has extensive experience in work with antimicrobial resistance, including major papers on risk factors for infection with resistant microorganisms and on therapeutic approaches to control of such infections.