Rollins School of Public Health | Faculty Profile
Emory Rollins School of Public Health

Ruth  Berkelman

Emeritus Professor

Jointly Appointed, Global Health

Professor Emeritus, Epidemiology

Rollins Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology

I am Rollins Professor Emeritus at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University with appointments in the Departments of Epidemiology and Global health, as well as the Center for Ethics.   I have been fortunate throughout my career to enjoy breadth and depth of research in a number of public health policy issues, including infectious diseases and more recently, environmental health.   After pediatric and internal medicine residencies, I began my career in public health as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   I became Director of CDC's Division of Epidemiology and Surveillance Studies and later served as Deputy Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases and Assistant to the Director, retiring in 2000 as an Assistant Surgeon General. I led CDC's effort in emerging infectious diseases in the 1990s.  As chronic, non communicable diseases rose in incidence, we have needed to remain vigilant to the ever changining, ever-adapting microbial world. I have also become interested in policy issues related to water quality and quantity and have become an advocate that the quality and quantity of water in the United States be adopted as a major public health and environmental health issue.  Elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Society of Epidemiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America as a Fellow, I have been extensively involved with numerous boards and committees,  including the HHS Biodefense Board, the Public and Scientific Affairs Board (Chair, 2002-2008)  and the CDC Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) for Infectious Diseases (Chair,  2012-2018). I have also served on the Board of Trustees at Princeton University and the National Academies (NASEM) Board of Life Sciences.  I currently reside in the Gainesville, FL area and am serving on the external advisory board for the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions. 

Areas of Interest

  • Health Policy
  • Infectious Disease
  • Public Health Practice
  • Public Health Preparedness and Response
  • Environmental Health

Affiliations & Activities




  • , , Culture of Responsibility, Science, ,
  • , , Legionellosis on the Rise: A Review of Guidelines for Prevention in the United States, J Public Health Manag Pract , ,
  • , , Shifting Gears to Control Drug-resistant Tuberculosis, Clin Inf Dis, ,
  • , , HIV/AIDS: Focus on the Test and Treat Strategy , Journal of Public Health Policy , ,
  • , , Use, location and timeliness of clinical microbiology testing in GA for select infectious diseases, J Public Health Manag Pract, ,
  • , , "Public Health Surveillance"., In: Oxford Texbook of Public Health, Oxford University Press \ 5th edition, ,
  • , , Legionellosis, 1990 - 2005: Changing Epidemiologic Trends, Clin Inf Dis , 47, 591-599
  • , , Trends in healthcare use in the New York City region following the terrorist attacks of 2001, Biosecurity & Bioterrorism, ,
  • , , The emergence and resurgence of bacterial infectious diseases. In: (eds. Hausler WJ, Sussman, M), Topley & Wilson's Microbiology and Microbial Infections, Tenth Edition, 1,
  • , , Trends in infectious disease mortality, JAMA, ,
  • , , The conquest of infectious diseases, Ann Intern Med, ,